Coronavirus morning update: Liquor sale restrictions in SA, global cases more than 200 000
The latest number of confirmed cases is 116, with 14 local transmissions.
Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga are the affected provinces so far.
The province with the most cases is Gauteng with 61 confirmed cases.
The government has made the national state of disaster official, having gazetted the regulations that will oversee the implementation of these measures.
The regulations, signed off by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, concern all government departments and their responsibilities to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a national state of disaster on Sunday, as the number of positive cases in South Africa grew. On Wednesday, positive cases stood at 116.
While ministers have already announced their responsibilities and plans for this period of national disaster to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus, there are some new regulations that have been published in the gazette.
The regulations place a cap on the sale and transportation of liquor, shutting down facilities which sell liquor with immediate effect or limiting customers to no more than 50, provided the space is adequate and hygienic.
Liquor licenses may not be considered during this period and facilities selling liquor will be forced to close at 18:00 on weekdays and Saturdays, and 13:00 on Sundays.
READ MORE | Coronavirus: National state of disaster takes effect with publishing of gazetted regulations
The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has suspended Jumuah prayers for four weeks amid the Covid-19 virus outbreak in South Africa, it announced on Wednesday.
The decision followed consultations with health experts and stakeholders but it would be reviewed "on a regular basis", the MJC said in a statement.
"We recommend that special consideration be given to spatial planning inside mosques. As South Africans, we are required to fulfil our civic responsibility to work towards the containment of the coronavirus before it spreads out of control.
"Uppermost in sharia, is the preservation of life and implementing social distancing to prevent the further transmission of the virus."
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE REST OF THE WORLD
For the latest global data, follow this interactive map from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.
Positive cases worldwide are now more than 218 000, while deaths are more than 8 800.
Five countries, China, Italy, Iran, Spain and Germany, now have more than 10 000 cases, with the United States and France not far behind.
The death toll in China remains the highest, with more than 3 100, but of concern is how Italy has now nearly 3 000 deaths.
Restaurants are reopening, traffic and factories are stirring, and in one of the clearest signs yet that China is awakening from its coronavirus coma, the country's "dancing aunties" are once again gathering in parks and squares.
As the rest of the world runs for cover, China - where the virus first emerged – is moving, guardedly, in the opposite direction as domestic infections fall to nil following unprecedented lockdowns and travel restrictions.
But ordinary life is far from normal.
Masks and temperature checks are essential to enter most places and many eateries are banning diners from facing each other in a mass "social distancing" campaign – no easy task in the world's most populous nation.
The head of the World Health Organization on Wednesday said the new coronavirus was an "enemy against humanity", as the number of people infected in the pandemic soared past 200 000.
"This coronavirus is presenting us with an unprecedented threat," Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists in an online news conference, stressing that it was "an unprecedented opportunity to come together as one against a common enemy: an enemy against humanity."
Worldwide fatalities topped 8 000 and more deaths have now been recorded in Europe, the new virus epicentre, than in Asia since the outbreak first emerged in China in December.
Tedros said the WHO was speaking daily with health ministers, heads of state, health workers, hospital managers, industry leaders and others "to help them prepare and prioritise."
New research now suggests that those mild, undocumented cases might be the ones that could rapidly accelerate the outbreak.
The study was published in JAMA Science. Researchers wanted to emphasise the importance of documenting even the mildest, asymptomatic cases as people who carry the Covid-19 virus without any knowledge thereof can cause a large number of infections as they spread the virus.
The authors wrote: “The fraction of undocumented but infectious cases is a critical epidemiological characteristic that modulates the pandemic potential of this virus.
"These undocumented infections often involve mild, limited or no symptoms and hence go unrecognised, and, depending on their contagiousness and numbers, can expose a far greater portion of the population to the virus than would otherwise occur.”
To determine these undocumented cases, the researchers designed a model-inference framework to estimate exactly how contagious any undocumented infections were in China during the weeks before and after the shutdown of travel in and out of Wuhan, the first location of the outbreak.
Their findings indicated that a large number of Covid-19 cases were undocumented before severe travel restrictions were implemented, and that affected the spread.
READ MORE | How mild, undocumented infections could lead to an even bigger coronavirus spread
HEALTH TIPS (as recommended by the NICD and WHO)
• Avoid contact with people who have respiratory infections
• Maintain social distancing – stay at least one metre away from somebody who is coughing or sneezing
• Practise frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as your hands touch many surfaces and could potentially transfer the virus
• Practise respiratory hygiene – cover your mouth with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Remember to dispose the tissue immediately after use.