South Africa

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South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Sunday 28 November 2021

In the latest news in South Africa on Sunday 28 November 2021, the country is waiting anxiously for a family meeting to find out what is in store for the festive season.

South Africa

Photo: Stock/ Canva

A lot can change overnight, but we’ll keep you in the know with the latest news stories and headlines in South Africa on Sunday 28 November 2021.

The last couple of days have been a rollercoaster ride since the NICD confirmed the new variant of Covid-19, Omicron detected in South Africa.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has since said the government stands with the World Health Organization (WHO) and pleads with world leaders to not implement “knee-jerk” policy decisions in response to the detection of the variant.

It does feel like South Africa is being punished – instead of applauded – for discovering Omicron, the concerning new variant of Covid-19.

Several countries have restricted travel from South Africa since Friday, citing the threat of the new variant despite several cases now reportedly been identified in Europe – two in the UK, two in Germany, one in Belgium, and another one in Italy, while a suspected case was found in the Czech Republic.

The new variant has also been detected in Botswana, Hong Kong, and Israel.

Meanwhile, South Africans are waiting anxiously for a family meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa to find out what is in store for the festive season, and if planned, paid, or booked, holidays should be cancelled.

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla said the rise in cases following the emergence of the Omicron variant could lead to an inter-provincial travel ban.


COVID-19 latest: SA reports 3 220 new reported cases, eight more deaths

South Africa recorded 3 220 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has said on Saturday. 

This brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2 958 548. The increase of 3 220 new COVID-19 cases represents a 9.2 % positivity rate. A further eight COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 89 791 to date.

Lockdown: SA tourism, liquor industry urges NCCC to consider economy

The government should demonstrate leadership to protect the struggling economy from further lockdown damage, following the detection of a new Covid-19 variant in South Africa and the southern African region. 

This was the urgent appeal from associations in the alcohol, consumer, tourism, and leisure industries on Saturday.

The poorly managed communication around the emergence of the new variant had already dealt a hammer blow, particularly to the tourism sector, which is expected to lose millions of Rands following several flight bans to and from South Africa, the industry associations said.

This was the worst nightmare come true for the tourism and the hospitality industry, which desperately needed a successful holiday season to begin its recovery from previous rounds of lockdown restrictions and to rebuild reserves to survive the 2022 off-season, they said.

Hard LOCKDOWN: SA restaurants plead for meeting with Ramaphosa

The South African Restaurant industry cannot afford a further hard lockdown that will lead to job losses and the closure of more businesses, the SA Restaurant Association said in its appeal for a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday.

SA Restaurant Association CEO Wendy Alberts said in a statement that the industry wanted to meet urgently with Ramaphosa on Saturday.

“We need to engage with government immediately and present the facts of the position of the industry and revisit the status and data that proves our risk,” Alberts said.

“Rumours and announcements of a further lockdown impacting yet another economical disaster and threats to unemployment and a financial blood bath are making their way to the doors of our restaurants and we cannot afford to close our doors or accept any restrictions,” Alberts said.

Surprise! Two cases of new Omicron variant found in UK

See, it’s really not as simple as shutting down flights from Southern Africa. After cutting all travel from SA, the UK government has now revealed that it has two cases of the new Omicron variant ALREADY in the country. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to provide a detailed update on the country’s COVID-19 plans on Saturday evening.

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed that two COVID cases of the Omicron variant have been found in Chelmsford and Nottingham.

Both cases are now self-isolating at home with the families. According to Javid, the two cases are linked and are connected through “Southern Africa”.

South Africa travel ban backlash: US bans South Africa, Belgium hypocrisy

South Africans are absolutely furious right now. Whether it’s your friends or family that you now STILL won’t be able to see, or if it’s a holiday being cancelled. The brilliance of South African scientists and our ability to study virus mutations, is coming with a lot of cons.

In short, we are all paying the price for identifying the new Omicron B.1.1.529 variant. The western world has closed its borders and left many South Africans stranded or scrambling without any help.

“I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to suspend and restrict the entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of noncitizens of the United States who were physically present within the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Malawi, the Republic of Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa, and the Republic of Zimbabwe during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.US 

President Joe Biden

Omicron variant: Department of Health says it cannot rule out an inter-provincial travel ban

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla led a question and answer session on the COVID-19 developments in South Africa late on Friday afternoon, 26 November. He said the rise in cases following the emergence of the Omicron variant could lead to an inter-provincial travel ban.

According to SABC News, the health department said the Omicron variant is spreading across the country very quickly and one of the measures to curb the spread could be a restriction of movement between provinces.

“Our experts here have indicated that movement is the one which moves with the virus. There might be some proposal on restricting the movement of inter-provincial travel,” said Phaahla.

The minister added that he is not in a position to rule out any restrictions on travelling during this festive period.

“I am not in a position to say if infections continue to rise we look at measures to contain that there will never be any restrictions on travelling. I am not in a position to guarantee that. And it’s going to depend on our risk-adjusted approach on dealing with these matters,” said Phaahla.

DIRCO says SA is being punished for its excellent science

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said the government stands with the World Health Organization (WHO) and pleads with world leaders to not implement “knee-jerk” policy decisions in response to the detection of the Omicron variant, in a statement on Saturday, 27 November.

The WHO Head of Emergencies Dr Michael Ryan said it is important to wait and see what the data on the new variant of concern will show and react accordingly.

“We’ve seen in the past, the minute there’s any kind of mention of any kind of mention of any kind of variation and everyone is closing borders and restricting travel. It’s really important that we remain open and stay focused,” said Ryan.

DIRCO said it noted that new variants have been detected in other countries and each of those cases had no recent links with Southern Africa. “It’s worth noting that the reaction to those countries is starkly different to cases in Southern Africa.”

TRAGEDY: Woman jumps to her death at Sandton City Mall

Sandton City Mall has confirmed the tragic death of a woman who is believed to have taken her own life by jumping to her death, plunging herself several floors down to the ground. The incident occurred in Sandton, north of Johannesburg on Saturday afternoon, 27 November 2021.

For now, there’s not much clarity on which part of Sandton City Mall this happened, whether indoors or outdoors. but the South African Police Service (SAPS) is still probing the matter – including determining that it was an actual suicide. First responders rushed to the scene immediately, but the woman had succumbed to her injuries before she could be taken to hospital. 

The mall released a brief statement, in light of the incident, expressing condolences to the deceased’s loved ones.

“Sandton City confirms that on 27 November 2021. at approximately 12:04, an individual jumped to their death. Emergency services responded to the scene immediately, but the individual was unfortunately pronounced dead. The SAPS are currently investigating the incident,” it said.

Six-year-old girl decapitated, police arrest 23-year-old suspect

The police in KwaZulu-Natal were called to the Ntabamhlophe area on Friday, 26 November, after a six-year-old girl was decapitated. One suspect has since been arrested.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) said its Pietermaritzburg Search and Rescue and K9 Unit rushed to Ntabamhlophe in the Uthukela District Municipality after the decapitated body of a six-year-old girl was found.

“A 23-year-old suspect was arrested by the Ntabamhlophe,” said the police.


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