Daily news update: Your December holiday and the coronavirus

Picture for illustration. A worker places umbrellas on Barceloneta beach in St. John Day holiday in Catalonia, in Barcelona, Catalonia, northeastern Spain, 24 June 2020. The beach was reopened early morning after St. John night, when traditionally, people light bonfires to mark shortest night, but COVID-19 outbreak caused it was closed and the mass gatherings were banned. Picture: EPA-EFE/Toni Albir

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With the festive season fast approaching, many South Africans were concerned that the country would go into a stricter lockdown.

However, on Thursday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation, saying that a more localised approach will be taken to quell infection flare-ups in hotspot areas.

This included a stricter curfew and the limitation of alcohol sales in the Nelson Mandela Metro. The rest of the country will remain on normal Lockdown Level 1, albeit with increased compliance monitoring by law enforcement officials.

Below is a selection of articles examining what the Covid-19 pandemic means for your holiday this year, as well as some of yesterday’s top headlines:

SA gears up for holiday, virus or not

When the going gets tough, the tough get going … on holiday. It seems that Covid-19 or not, South Africans are determined to hit the beaches with gusto again this festive season.

Despite being identified as hotspots, popular seaside destinations in the Eastern and Western Cape are hopeful that surge of local visitors over December and January will help them claw back some of the horrendous losses they incurred because of the lockdowns earlier in the year.


Go on vacation, by all means, but don’t forget protocols


Though South Africans have been cooped up for too long to expect everyone to stay indoors and politely decline family invitations, not even the silly season can loosen the iron grip of the pandemic that has left no economic sector or citizen untouched.

Interventions have been put in place to prevent the spread of the virus, notably in the Western and Eastern Cape.

“There is a definitive desire to escape the reality of Covid-19 and the strangle of lockdown and we foresee tourists wanting to escape to scenic views and the sound of the ocean,” said Garden Route communications officer Herman Pieters.


Sleepy Garden Route town a bowl of worry as Covid-19 cases climb

During the last two weeks of November, the picturesque Garden Route region in the Western Cape had its worst fears realised – a marked increase in Covid-19 cases, and a second infection peak proving to be more deadly than the first. 

Infections along the Garden Route have increased by 29%, and from 30 September to 28 November, infections in the province have increased by 757%. 

There are currently 1235 Covid-19 patents in public and private hospitals, with metro hospitals running at an average occupancy rate of 79%, and rural hospitals at 79%. 

42% of infections are directly due to social gatherings, and 35% are attributed to family members contracting the virus. 


In other news:

Gavin Watson ‘was a coward’ – Debbie Agrizzi

Angelo Agrizzi in ICU. Picture: Melinda Ferguson

There seems to have been no love lost between former Bosasa CEO, Gavin Watson and the wife of former Bosasa COO turned whistleblower Angelo Agrizzi.

Speaking during a Q&A session with the co-author of ‘Inside the Belly of the Beast – The Real Bosasa Story’ with book publisher, Melinda Ferguson, Debbie Agrizzi shared her thoughts on everything from Gavin Watson and the circumstances surrounding his death to her husband’s health issues.


Matric class of 2020 to rewrite maths and science papers

Parents of matric learners may have to delay their holiday plans after it was announced that maths paper two would be rewritten on Tuesday, 15 December 2020 at 2pm and the physical science exam would be rewritten on Thursday, 17 December 2020 at 9am.

The announcement was made by Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga on Friday as she provided an update on the progress of the 2020 matric exams.

This after both papers were allegedly leaked through a WhatsApp group shortly before learners sat to write the exams.


Proteas team doctor worried about team ‘bubble’ breach

South Africa’s team doctor said Friday he was concerned about a possible breach of the team’s bio-secure “bubble” after the first one-day international against England was postponed because a South African player tested positive for Covid-19.

The postponement announcement was made just over an hour before Friday’s day-night match was due to start at Newlands in Cape Town.


Jihadists kill 25 soldiers in Mozambique’s restive north (video)

Islamist militants in Mozambique killed two dozen soldiers in an ambush attack, military sources told AFP, a significant show of force against the military’s struggle to quell an insurgency in the north.

A shadowy jihadist group has wreaked havoc in the northern Cabo Delgado region since 2017, targeting villages and towns in a bid to establish an Islamist caliphate.

The insurgents grew bolder this year and took control of large swathes of territory which the army has so far failed to regain.


#CountryDuty: Tumi Sole steps in to help Makhadzi get her money back (video)

Entrepreneur and creator of #CountryDuty on Twitter, Tumi Sole, has stepped in to help Makhadzi in her ongoing battle with her manager.

This after Makhadzi took to social media earlier this week to lament not getting paid by her former manager Rita Dee Naphawe.

Sole reached out via social media after having built a reputation for using it to help those in need using the hashtag #CountryDuty.

Makhadzi. Picture: Twitter

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