More info on this is available here.
Will transport work during lockdown?
Mini-bus taxis, metered taxis and e-hailing services (Uber/Bolt/metered taxis) can continue to transport essential workers and those leaving for the specified purposes under the essential rules – this includes grocery stores yes, but only if you need transport to get to the closest store.
Essential workers will only be allowed to transport between 5am – 9am and 4pm-8pm every day. Essential workers include: healthcare providers, Pik it Up Employers, individuals who work at grocery stores and other workers who provide essential service. During this time, people can also use transport to the shop.
The minibuses need to follow hygiene measures and social distancing: taxis need to be sanitized after every trip and can only carry “half of their” capacity, including the driver. An eight-seater can only carry three passengers, plus the driver, and a sixteen-seater can only carry seven passengers, and so on. All trains, both commuter and private are closed while limited bus services will continue to run for essential workers.
Social grant recipients will still be allowed to collect their grants, with transport provided for those who need to go to pay points.
Do I need to show any specific documents when leaving the house for essential services?
It isn’t immediately clear what exactly we need to carry, but we recommend that you always carry your ID document or Driver’s licence if leaving your house. For now, it’s clear that only people who perform essential services need to show a permit – the companies will provide employees with those permits.
Can I visit my grandparents if they need help?
Unfortunately not, the Minister said that visiting families will not be allowed under lockdown, but old-age homes will get the food and support they need along with children’s homes and youth homes, the social cluster promises. Social workers are listed under essential services, as will others working in social services.
What is the government planning to do about domestic abuse during the lockdown?
What a great question! The Minister of Police Mbeki Cele explained that there will be increase in units available to deal with women and child abuse. The toll-free number 0800428428 is available only to report these cases. Phone lines might be busy, so if in need, try more than once.
Why is the Army involved?
In line with the state of national disaster, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will support the Police Service with roadblocks and enforcing these rules, and assist the other departments with relief, humanitarian assistance and crisis response.
For all us it is very important to comply with the main rule of staying at home and leaving the house as little as possible (only to complete essential services such as buying food, medicines, collecting social grants or if you are a provider of essential services).
What happens if we break the law?
Please don’t think about breaking the law as the punishment for this will be 6 months imprisonment or a fine or both. Remember, these rules have been put in place to contain the spread of the virus and it’s really important that we follow them. In Italy, people didn’t respect the law and left the house often, and as a consequence, the Coronavirus is still spreading. It’s our collective responsibility to #flattenthecurve!
What are your tips to help us cope with the lockdown?
Thank you so much for asking! We have never been in this situation so all the feelings that come up are normal. So to start, remember that you’re not alone, we’re all feeling this! Social distancing does not mean we do not care!
At Youth Capital. we have been working away from each other and I had to come up with personal rules to make my day better – I hope these will be helpful for you too and interested in hearing more on tips from the group here tonight!
- Message friends and family : a quick whatsapp message/a call/to see how they’re doing: this makes me feel less lonely and more connected
- Go on a social media diet: too many messages, too many worries, soz can’t deal! Check the news and reputable sources – people are sending lots of information that is not verified. I check the Presidency’s feed on Twitter and their data-free site
- Keep a routine: get up in the morning, get ready as if you were leaving your house – don’t live in your pajamas the whole day. Make a to-do list of what you want to achieve during the day and work at it!
- Open up: we don’t have to wear a mask (pun intended) and pretend everything is fine. Things are scary so it’s okay to be vulnerable. Keep a journal of your feelings and watch your thoughts 🙂 Remember not everyday is the same!
- Reach out : If you’re feeling really down, there are people who can help! SADAG is an organisation that has great resources. If you are worried about a friend or loved one who is struggling to cope with depression and anxiety please call the toll free number 0800 456 789 – you can sms 31393 or visit their site
It was then time for Hapiloe Maranyane, a medical Biochemist. She did her PhD in Medical Biochemistry at UCT and then did two Postdoctoral fellowships in virology and plant biotechnology for vaccine production and another fellowship in cancer biology. She isn’t a physician but a scientist. She spent some years working in basic medical and veterinary researcher- mostly dealing with cancer, with a great understanding of Microbiology, Genetics and basic Epidemiology.
Last week one of the questions asked was “If I get Covid-19 now will I get it again?”
One cannot get infected with a virus and recover from it then get infected with the same virus the second time again because your body will recognize it and destroy it before it gets a chance to make you sick. This is concept behind immunization by vaccine for example.
Are there treatment options or vaccines for COVID-19 currently?
At the moment there isn’t a “cure” for COVID-19. For patients that require hospitalisation, there will be supportive care, where the symptoms of the patients are treated but not necessarily attacking the virus.
However large-scale clinical trials are underway in China,Europe and the US to the test the effectiveness of medications such as Remdesivir, an anti-Ebola treatment and other anti-malarial medications that have been shown to be effective in the lab. In terms of the vaccine, there’s also a few number clinical trials in the US and China to test the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines although these will only possibly be rolled out later in the year or 2021.
The floor was open for questions from attendees.
Now that there’s the lockdown and people can only leave for reason, buying essential goods and for work, will there be any routes that’s will be closed?
No closure of routes has been announced at the moment- but we can’t leave the house unless, of course, for essential services. Remember that even for grocery shops, we have to go to the closest place – spaza shops also will stay open.
Has the cause of the virus been detected?
We can’t talk about the cause of the virus but we can talk about the origin of the virus. We have viruses that circulate among animal species and in this case Covid-19 originated from Coronavirus often found in pangolins. The reason why this is known for sure is because when Covid-19 was sequenced it had 96% similarities with a Coronavirus found in pangolins. What the general scientific community thinks is that thewe was a spillover event – in science we call spillover the event when the virus moves from an animal to a human. A spillover took place from a pangolin to humans; the humans contracted this corona virus and then infected other humans.
What are the measures we can take to prevent the virus from spreading?
To prevent getting the virus it’s important to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds; sanitizers work if you don’t have access to water but it needs to be alcohol-based ones (60%). Social distancing, as you spoke previously in this webinar, to isolate groups so that you don’t have many people getting infected at the same time. If you suspect that you might have symptoms, it’s important to self-isolate; stay in a separate room and avoid sharing of utensils etc.
Once the vaccine becomes available will vulnerable groups be prioritised in the roll out?
I cannot comment on this unfortunately. I am not aware of any groups in South Africa currently working on a vaccine, and the vaccines that are currently in clinical trial in America, China and Europe would probably want to prioritize their countries first. These clinical trials take time, and the rollout will probably be only next year. The World Health Organisation (WHO) might make our case to protect the most vulnerable groups in the world.
Some soldiers are already threatening to beat up people (i stand to be corrected if its not true). How is it going to be ensured that the lockdown doesn’t turn into abuse for citizens?
Nothing has been reported so far as the troups will only be patrolling our cities from tonight. Addressing the soldiers at the Doornkop army base in the south of Johannesburg, President Ramaphosa reminded the army that “This is not a moment for skop en donder. This is not a moment for skiet en donder”. When they see you patrol with your guns, they will be fearful but make sure that when they see you they see kindness of the state of South Africa. They should even get to a point where they may want to give you roses”.
Instructions to the army are clear in their role in supporting the flattening of the curve but we must all be vigilant.
Say, new infections increase – how confident should we be towards our health system? Do we have the capacity to respond to a potential exponential increase of new infections?
Our fight against Covid-19 is not only a national one but a global one, with many countries trying to increase the capability to respond to the epidemic. You can stay up to date by checking the WHO‘s website that reports all new recommendations. We didn’t all get Covid-19 at the same time, China came first then the US and Europe. As we see what works in other countries, we also try to implement things that can assist us; protocols can be put in place in terms of global public health to assist governments making decisions.
Do you have the capacity to respond? That needs to be seen, it’s still too early to say. We have trained personnel that are responding. If testing happens much faster than what it has been previously, we should be able to get a better sense of what is happening on the ground. Currently we’re using QRTPCR to test, which is a method that is takes from a few hours to a day but there is new technology that has been put in place to test a little bit faster so that should help us.
If living with elders, how do we minimize risk? Do elders have to be isolated within the household to a “clean zone”. Advice please
Collectively as families and communities we should try by all means contracting Covid-19 (wash hands, minimise exposure etc). For those who have the means to separate tthe elders, that is a great idea as they are more at risk. It’s important that families take this isolation seriously, but as soon as someone has symptoms and lives with an elderly person, it’s in their best interest to be really good with the self-quarantining. We often do this with chicken pox, we isolate them to a room where they can recover and Covid-19 requires a similar strategy. We should isolate people with the disease but finding a ‘clean zone’ for elderly people is not a bad idea.
Does one have to be in a health facility to receive treatment or can you treat at home?
The people who need to go to a health facility are people that are experiencing the kind of symptoms thay require hospitalisation. What we know about the disease so far is that there is an incubation period between 5 to 14 days, where you might be asymptomatic (no symptoms are shown); by the time the symptoms kick in, for about 75% of the population the symptoms are mild and don’t require hospitalisation but require you to rest and hydrate, stay home and immune boosting. However, if your symptoms are escalating and become way worse, the best thing to do it to call the hotline and they can advise you how to proceed to get the necessary help. If you have mild symptoms your body will probably beat this and recover, If our health is deteriorating, reach out. It’s always good to call your GP and ask.
Stay safe and follow safety precautions – get in touch should you have any doubts.
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