Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: 338,724 cases have been confirmed around the world, with 14,687 deaths. 99,003 people have recovered from the virus, but 225,034 remain infected – 10,553 of which are in serious or critical condition. South Africa has 274 confirmed cases.
- Lock-down talk: Amid dismissals of news that South Africa is about to enter a national lock down because of the coronavirus, some government officials are talking about how such a lock down would look, if it were to be implemented. First, it would not be a total lock down, as people would still need to visit grocery stores, pharmacies and healthcare facilities – but it could see non-essential retail stores shut down. Any lock down would be phased in according to risk levels, while government needs to ensure essential services continue. [TimesLive]
- Your rights in a time of crisis: With the restrictions placed on gatherings, movement and sale of alcohol, many South Africans are asking – can they really do that? In the time of crisis, in what is now a coronavirus national disaster, South Africans need to get used to the fact that some of their rights and freedoms under ordinary circumstances are no longer applicable. Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos takes you through all the details you need to know about your rights during this time. [Daily Maverick]
- Tipping point: 1 million South Africans could be infected with the coronavirus in 40 days, unless drastic containment measures are taken, according to researchers from Wits, with the tipping point being 100 local cases of transmission. At that point, statistical modelling shows that infections ramp up dramatically. South Africa has had 26 local transmissions as of Sunday. The researchers said that if 40% of the population is infected and 5% are in a serious condition and need hospitalisation, that’s 1 million people who need a hospital bed. [Business Day]
- E-tolls stall again: Despite promises, no plan or alternative around the e-toll saga in Gauteng has been published, and Sanral says no one in government has let it know anything. As such the group is putting out a new tender for contracts related to the scheme. An e-toll plan was promised in August 2019 and has consistently been delayed with no direction from government. Amid the coronavirus outbreak, time on the road is expected to drop significantly as people stay home from work, which further impacts the scheme’s viability. [Moneyweb]
- Markets: The race for cash saw global markets come under pressure yet again in overnight trade, with the rand trading at fresh lows. With no key data today, eyes are on the address from President Ramaphosa on the coronavirus crisis, where he is expected to offer some guidance on additional steps that may be taken to address the pandemic’s economic impact, as well as the possible tightening of restrictions. On Monday the rand is at R17.70 to the dollar, R20.64 to the pound and R18.99 to the euro. [XE]
Load shedding: Continuing the trend of last week, Eskom says it does not expect to implement load shedding this week, but reminds customers that it may be implemented at short notice should things change.