Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 infections have increased to 11.8 million confirmed since the start of the year, with the death toll up to 544,000. In South Africa, confirmed infection have risen to 224,665, while deaths have increased to 3,600. Recoveries are at 106,842, leaving a balance of 114,223 active cases.
- Epicentre: Gauteng has now become the new epicentre for the coronavirus in South Africa, having shot past the Western Cape in the number of infections. The latest data shows infections in the province are past 75,000, with over 53,000 of them being currently active. 3,000 people are recovering in hospitals around the province, but this comes amid warnings from doctors and healthcare workers that the hospitals are under severe pressure, and there are fears of a bed shortage. [EWN]
- Reaching peak: Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize says that South Africa is heading towards its peak, based on the outbreak modelling used by government. He has urged South Africans to continue following regulations and guidelines, which have been established to protect people from the virus and to prevent it spreading. Studies have shown that compliance levels are a key factor in the effectiveness of any Covid-19 strategy. [ENCA]
- Dining in: South African restaurants are taking government to court over what they call ‘absurd’ alcohol and social distancing restrictions. Restaurants were allowed to open for sit-down dining this month, however, they have been prohibited from selling alcohol to patrons. Industry representatives want any establishment with a valid liquor licence to be able to sell it. Three months of lockdown left many restaurants on the brink of collapse, and blocking alcohol sales has led to a massive revenue hit. [TimesLive]
- Artificial criminals: Justice Project South Africa head Howard Dembovsky says that over 22,000 South Africans could be “artificial criminals” after paying admission of guilt fines for contravening lockdown regulations. These are people who broke lockdown rules and paid a fine to avoid taking the matter to court – and in the process got a criminal record. Dembovsky echoed sentiments from the Department of Justice that people should not pay these fines if they believe the charge to be unfair. [MyBroadband]
- Markets: Markets continue to seesaw, flipping between risk-on and risk-off at the blink of an eye. Gold eased from nine-year highs on Thursday, assisting emerging market currencies to recover some ground after weakening earlier in the week. On Thursday the rand was at R16.92 to the dollar, R21.38 to the pound and R19,24 to the euro. Commentary by Peregrine Treasury Solutions. [XE]