Here’s what is happening in and affecting South Africa today:
Coronavirus: Global cases have hit over the 1.5 million mark, at 1,518,783, with 88,505 confirmed deaths. 330,590 people have recovered, but 1,099,688 cases remain active, where 48,079 people are in serious or critical condition. In South Africa, there are 1,845 cases, and 18 people have died.
- Flattening the curve: The World Health Organisation says South Africa can flatten the curve without extending the lockdown beyond the three weeks. However, people will have to keep social distancing and hygiene levels up. South Africa moved quicker than other nations to take action in reducing the spread of the virus. The WHO also said that the country has experience in tracking viruses, and was not caught off-guard like many European countries. It’s still early days, so there is time to prevent the virus from getting worse, it said. [ENCA]
- Shut down: Tens of thousands of South African businesses could shut down permanently due to the coronavirus lockdwon, according to economist Dawie Roodt, who said that the country’s economy was already crippled even before the health crisis hit. He said that he expects 1 million jobs to be lost, and working on the assumption that a small business employs around 10 people, as many as 100,000 businesses could shut down. [MyBroadband]
- Fake news crackdown: It’s not just creators of fake news content that could be arrested and charged during the lockdown – those who share the content on social media could also be held liable, according to legal experts. So far 7 people have been arrested for spreading fake news relating to the coronavirus pandemic. For those spreading the false news, it’s not enough to say they believed it to be true, if it can be proven that the re-poster shared the information without verifying the claims, ultimately misleading those they share it with. [Moneyweb]
- Not enough: President Cyril Ramaphosa’s censure of communication minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams for violating the lockdown regulations does not go far enough, according to the DA and EFF. The minister was placed on two months’ special leave, with pay docked for one of them. However, the parties say she should be removed from her post permanently, and arrested. They argue that thousands of other South Africans were arrested and charged over lockdown violations – and the same rules should apply. [EWN]
- Markets: South Africa’s stock market fell almost 2% on Wednesday, as the disappearance of investor optimism that had boosted emerging markets combined with a drop in business confidence to a seven-month low. However, the market remains optimistic that the virus outbreak might be peaking, enhancing risk appetite in support of riskier currencies. On Thursday the rand was at R18.18 to the dollar, R22.51 to the pound and R19.75 to the euro. [XE]