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Gift of the Givers pledges support to help fight coronavirus

Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of Gift of the Givers, says the organisation has put aside R5m from its emergency reserves to help in the fight against coronavirus.Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of Gift of the Givers, says the organisation has put aside R5m from its emergency reserves to help in the fight against coronavirus.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi
Humanitarian group Gift of the Givers has pledged its support in the fight against the coronavirus, should the need arise.

The organisation’s founder, Imtiaz Sooliman, said R5m had been put aside from emergency reserves for this purpose.

Sooliman said Gift of the Givers would also make available its emergency medical equipment and ambulances to support public health services, if necessary.

“It is at this critical phase that Gift of the Givers intends to intervene if the need arises, focusing on providing protective equipment for high-risk medical personnel in the front line dealing with the virus, and purchasing ventilators, intubation sets and general medical supplies required for the management process,” he said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster on Sunday after the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country reached 61.

The president implemented bans and restrictions regarding schools, universities, prisons, visas, travel and group gatherings.

Sooliman said with BackaBuddy they would start a crowdfunding initiative to “intervene at more facilities should the volume of critically ill patients increase”.These are only precautionary steps, with no need to cause panic, as the greatest form of disaster management is disaster preparation. The reality is that government alone will not manage if we have large numbers of critically infected people.

“Support from corporates, medical and other professionals, high net worth individuals and anyone and everyone who can contribute in some way will be mandatory,” he said.

Sooliman said borehole drilling programmes would continue in the Eastern Cape and QwaQwa, targeting schools, clinics and hospitals, delivering clean water via tankers for drinking and hygiene purposes seven days a week.

“The absence of clean water in drought affected areas will complicate efforts to curtail the spread of the virus. Government needs to consider appropriate action urgently.

“Another simple measure that may not cause too much disruption is to extend the Easter school holidays by a week.”

Contributions can be made to BackaBuddy to “support the doctors, nurses and medical staff that work in the ICUs and high care units across medical facilities in SA” or to the Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, account number 052137228, reference Covid-19.

I was touched, watching our children inside those buses’- Polokwane residents react as SA evacuees arrive

There were mixed emotions from Polokwane residents on Saturday afternoon as they watched buses ferrying South African citizens repatriated from Wuhan coming through the Limpopo capital, and making their way to the lodge where they will be quarantined.

Four buses carried 114 citizens, 18 crew members, 14 medical officers and three embassy officials who disembarked the South African Airways’ Airbus A340-642 at around 10:30 at Polokwane International Airport on Saturday.

Several roads were closed to allow the convoy smooth access as it made its way to Protea Hotel’s The Ranch Resort, situated just 25km outside the CBD.

Residents watched from a distance as the South Africans, who had masks on, were transported from the town to the resort.

At a filling station on the R101, scores of residents recorded the moment the buses drove past.

“I don’t know how I feel because I see SA is trying to help others get healed. I am happy [citizens were repatriated] because South Africa is doing something,” Johannes Baloyi said.

‘What makes me happy is that they are not sick’

Some people started gathering at the garage after police cordoned off the route which leads to the resort. The area is on complete lockdown and guarded by SANDF troops and police officials, who will also be quarantined.

“I was touched, watching our children inside those buses, but what makes me happy is that they are not sick,” Mafiwa Madubanya said.

Madubanya said she was aware that some people were unhappy that the quarantine would be happening in the province. She added that she was looking forward to seeing the SA citizens going back to their communities after their quarantine period.

“Limpopo province is part of South Africa. And all those people are part of us. I have no issues that they are here and I hope that they can be cleared from the virus,” she added.

The group were welcomed by the hotel’s staff, along with medics from the SA Health Military Service, who will monitor them throughout the process.

Coronavirus in SA: 14-year-old among latest Covid-19 cases, 38 people now test positive

The Department of Health has confirmed that the first South African person under 18 has tested positive for Covid-19.

On Saturday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the 14-year-old from the Western Cape was among 14 new cases who had tested tested positive for the virus. This brings the number of cases in the country to 38.

Earlier on Saturday, the United Herzlia Schools in Cape Town sent parents a letter, which News24 has seen, which stated thatIn view of the rising numbers, President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for an urgent Cabinet meeting to be held on Sunday. This meeting will explore ways of intensifying the country’s response to this outbreak,” Mkhize said in a satement on Saturday.

On Friday, the department said the number of cases stood at 24.

Seven new cases have now been confirmed in Gauteng:

A 76-year-old man who had travelled to the UK and the US;
A 72-year-old woman who had travelled to the UK and the US;
A 47-year-old man who had travelled to the UK and the US;
A 52-year-old man who had travelled to Germany;
A 38-year-old man who had travelled to the Netherlands and Germany;
A 62-year-old man who had travelled to the Netherlands;
A 19-year-old woman who had travelled to France and Italy.
There are six new cases in the Western Cape:

A 27-year-old man who had travelled to Brazil;
A 33-year-old woman who had travelled to France;
A 49-year-old man who had travelled to France and Italy;
A 14-year-old woman who had travelled to the US and Dubai;
A 73-year-old man who had travelled to the UK;
A 32-year-old man who had travelled to the UK.
One more case has been announced in KwaZulu-Natal

A 47-year-old man who had travelled to Switzerland

Medical workers in Wuhan reveal smiles behind their masks after the last temporary hospital is closed

Medical workers in Wuhan, China, revealed smiles behind their masks to celebrate the closing of the last temporary hospital that was panic-built to accommodate the overflow of coronavirus patients in the city.The move came after the employee presented information to the human resources department that their partner’s boss had tested positive for virus after going on an international trip.

As a precautionary measure, the staff members at the Sandton offices in Johannesburg were immediately evacuated from the building.

“We would like to emphasise that the measures taken are purely precautionary to protect the health and wellbeing of our colleagues, their families and all EAAB stakeholders,” Mohlala said in a statement.

Cape Town man struggles to get tested for Covid-19 at private hospital

Jansen updated his Facebook status on Thursday, saying that before going to the hospital he had felt a bit sick. After his CEO advised him to get checked out, he went to Melomed Mitchells Plain Private Hospital, where he says he was sent back and forth without anyone seeing him.

“I went to Melomed Mitchell’s Plain and no doctor would see me. I was told to get a referral letter from my GP. Once I got back to Melomed Mitchells Plain, I was informed that my GP has to complete this form from the Department of Health,” he said in his Facebook status.

He said the hospital provided him with a hotline number which he called three times, but still got no assistance.

Western Cape Department of Health deputy director of communications Mark van der Heever told News24 that the hotline number was currently under pressure from people calling in with fears of having contracted the virus. Van der Heever added that there was a standard procedure across the board, whether a patient went to a private or public hospital.

“The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) provided a hotline for patients to call first before heading to health facilities. This is to help maintain the spread of the virus. Once you call the number, explain your symptoms and where you have travelled, or with whom you have had contact,” Van der Heever said.