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SABC closes Kimberley offices after staffer tests positive for Covid-19

The IOL reported the SABC has closed its Kimberley offices and has asked all employees to quarantine after a staff member tested positive for coronavirus.

Mmoni Seapolelo the acting spokesperson for the public broadcaster confirmed the case at its Northern Cape provincial office.

“As a precautionary measure, we will close the Kimberley office and all employees based in that office will also be quarantined. The employee concerned is under quarantine and will be monitored,” she said.

It is believed the employee is a journalist.

BEMAWU has been urging the SABC since the 17th of March 2020 to sent home its non-core staff to curb the spread of the virus and to safeguard employees.

The SABC did not do so.

Instead, the SABC accused BEMAWU of being alarmist and creating panic.

The COVID19 outbreak has been declared a pandemic by the WHO, and thousands of people already died.

Whilst employers like MultiChoice and Discovery Health swiftly acted by sending home its non-core employees, the SABC dragged its feet.

BEMAWU wishes the employee a speedy recovery and we sincerely hope the killer virus has not been spread to other SABC employees.

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BUSINESSES THAT MUST REMAIN OPEN

Cape Town – President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday announced a countrywide lockdown, part of which is that only certain categories of businesses can remain open.

Ramaphosa said: “All shops and businesses will be closed, except for pharmacies, laboratories, banks, essential financial and payment services, including the JSE, supermarkets, petrol stations and health care providers.

“Companies that are essential to the production and transportation of food, basic goods and medical supplies will remain open.

We will publish a full list of the categories of businesses that should remain open.”

According to this list, the following services will need to be maintained during the lockdown:

ESSENTIAL INFRASTRUCTURE SERVICES

  1. Electricity – stable power supply with no loadshedding

Public and private organisations, their staff and service providers essential to the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity will need to continue to operate.

This includes municipalities, and the suppliers of logistics, feedstock and maintenance will be required to continue to operate and provide security of electricity supply.

  1. Water supply, sewerage and sanitation

Public and private organisations, their staff and service providers essential to the security of supply of bulk and potable water and sanitation must continue to operate and provide vital water and sanitation services. This includes municipalities and those involved in the supply of materials, chemicals and related equipment.

  1. ICT – datacentres, fibre optic infrastructure, towers and antennae

We have extensively engaged with the ICT sector and are satisfied that connectivity will remain stable during this period. In this time industry collaboration will be critical to ensure that society remains connected and functional.

The ICT sector including data centres, fibre optic providers, towers and antennae will need to operate at high capacity.

The industry will collaborate and use multiple data sets to provide predictive insights into spread and impact dynamics of the crisis which will enable government and society’s ability to be proactive in measures that reduce the curve and social and economic impact of the spread. ​

Social platforms will allow our people to remain socially included and these platforms remain critical to the dissemination of accurate information.

However, our citizens are reminded that cyber security is off the utmost importance and to be vigilant to cyber criminals who will, during this time, try to exploit the public.

CRITICAL BUSINESS CONTINUITY TO SUPPORT THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF SOUTH AFRICANS

  1. Food & essential products – related manufacturing and processing, and distribution

In order to ensure that people remain well-nourished and apply high personal hygiene to combat the spread of Covid-19, the following operations will continue:

Manufacturing of health related products, supplies, devices, equipment, and medicines, including complementary health products; food and essential products, as well as essential inputs thereto.

Agricultural and food supply related operations, including farming, veterinary and phyto-sanitary provider services, pest control services, and chemical and fertilizer providers.

Fishing operations
Forestry and sawmills will remain in production for disposable health and hygiene products, including toilet paper; as well as for the production of packaging for essential health and food supply chains.

Food, beverages and essential products manufacturing and processing facilities
Warehousing, transport and logistics for food & essential products, and health related goods.

The Ports, road and rail networks will remain open in order to facilitate the import and export of essential products.

Food outlets – retail, wholesale, spaza shops and malls for food and essential products.

Essential products include: toilet paper, cleaners, sanitizers and disinfectants, personal hygiene products, bedding and clothing, and essential supplies for those taking care of the sick and in order for people to remain healthy.

  1. Enabling Services

To assist in the Covid-19 response, the following services are required to continue operations:

All healthcare related services be they public or private.

Call centres providing life and health; energy, food and water supply, social, transactional, communications, law and order and international critical business continuity services.

Professional and artisan services, to the extent that they are providing support in the Covid19 response, essential and critical business continuity services.

Cleaning, laundry and hospitality services supporting the Covid-19 response and essential and critical business continuity services.

Hotels, airlines, stadiums, car rental services, to the extent that they are supporting essential or critical business continuity services and repurposing for
Financial and insurance services and health funders required to finance and support essential and critical business continuity services in the Covid-19 response, and provide short term bridging finance to people and businesses during this period.

Anti-poaching and wildlife conservation services.
Communication and media services on screen, TV, radio, print, broadcast and online.
Safety and security services protecting people and property.

  1. Work from Home

The government encourages people to continue to remain productive and work from home. However, this must the basis that it does not require contact with people not residing in the home, and it does not interfere in any manner with the Covid-19 response.

A detailed list will be made available in due course, the statement said.

Other than the above, businesses will need to shut down during the lockdown.

Source: https://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/coronavirus-lockdown-in-sa-these-are-the-businesses-that-can-operate-45431834

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Useful COVID19 Information

We will shortly address another letter to the SABC to express our grave concern about the slow pace it’s moving to reduce the risk of infecting masses of people by not allowing non-core staff to work from home, like the rest of the world. 

We are of the view the SABC is in breach of the regulations published by government to curb the spread of the virus by allowing more than a 100 people to gather at the workplace. 

If you are able to perform your work from home, please send us an email with your name and position. 

Hereunder some useful info in respect of social distancing. 

Social distancing includes several measures that can slow down the spread of COVID-19 to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed with sick individuals.

Experts say since the virus that causes COVID-19 is spread from person to person through physically close social contacts, the best approach to prevention right now is to keep people from being in close contact as much as possible.

It’s critical that everyone practices social distancing, not just those who are sick.

As the United States experiences widespread school closures and governmental orders to close public places that attract crowds, you’re likely to hear the term “social distancing” several times a day.

Social distancing includes several measures that can slow down the spread of COVID-19 to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed with sick individuals. If the novel coronavirus is allowed to spread, unchecked by social distancing, there might not be enough beds in intensive care units for all the people that need them.

“Social distancing is a complicated way of saying stay away from people, and the microbial residue that people might have accidentally left behind,” said Malia Jones, a social epidemiologist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison who studies how people’s behaviors contribute to outbreaks of infectious disease.

“Since the virus that causes COVID-19 is spread from person to person through physically close social contacts, the best approach to prevention we have right now is to keep people from being in close contact as much as possible,” she explained.

“I’ve been calling social distancing ‘cocooning’ to promote the idea that you should be at home in a safe harbor with your family,” Jones said.

It’s critical that everyone practices social distancing, not just those who are sick, Jones told Healthline. This can help vulnerable populations, like older adults, from getting the virus. Due to delays in testing and the ability for someone to have and spread COVID-19, even if they appear healthy, it’s currently impossible to know who has it.

“Social distancing is a responsibility that individuals take on to make sure they’re not the vector of disease and to break the chain of transmission,” said ​May Chu, PhD, a clinical professor in the department of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora, Colorado.

We asked experts to clarify exactly how to practice social distancing in common scenarios to avoid spreading or contracting COVID-19. 

For some situations, experts have clear answers. But for others, the science isn’t yet available, so it’s responsible to err on the side of greater caution.

Overall, experts agreed the situations below were generally not essential. “All of these things, like going to the gym, riding public transportation — all of that fuels the epidemic,” Jaenisch said.

Can I schedule play dates for my kids?

“Keep your children home from school, and don’t let them mix with other kids outside your cocoon. School closures are especially important because even though children aren’t at particularly high risk for getting sick from COVID-19, they can still be carriers [and spread illness],” Jones explained.

Can I go to restaurants and bars?

Many cities already have restrictions in place. “If there’s a government request to [stop going to these establishments] for high concern, we should all follow those rules and not go. It’s not prudent,” Chu said.

“If it’s not mandated yet, but you can anticipate [the mandate] coming, I wouldn’t go just to [dine out] one more time before everything closes. If you do dine out for whatever reason, it is safest to sit outside and ensure a lot of space between. “I’d say inside is more dangerous than outside,” Jaenisch said, noting that takeout is a much safer option.

Can I visit my older parents or grandparents?

In some cases, assisting older family members is essential. But purely for a social visit, Jaenisch suggested being cautious and avoiding physical contact with older adults for at least the next few weeks.

“One of the main aims right now is to keep the elderly safe because these are the people who are most vulnerable,” and can end up with serious symptoms, he said. Call or FaceTime your family instead.

Can I go to the gym?

It’s not responsible to go to the gym right now. Gyms are often crowded, enclosed spaces where people are touching the same equipment over and over without disinfecting it. Since the virus can live on metal or plastic surfaces up to 3 days, it’s best to exercise elsewhere.

Going outside or meeting a friend for a hike, while maintaining distance, are safer activities, according to Jaenisch.

Can I have a few friends over for game night?

Only if they’re in your inner circle. Keep it to smaller circles that always interact with each other — and even better, only each other, said Jaenisch.

Can I keep dating?

Not in person. You can still message people during this time, but wait 2 to 6 weeks to meet new people in person. “Be overcautious right now,” Jaenisch said.

Stay in touch to avoid loneliness

“We’re social beings by nature. We thrive on social connectedness,” said Jenn Leiferman, PhD, director of the Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center and associate professor of community and behavioral health at the Colorado School of Public Health.

“As much as social distancing is very important right now for the health and welfare of our country, it’s also very important that people still figure out ways to be connected to reduce the likelihood of social isolation and loneliness,” Leiferman said. She recommends staying connected with phone calls, video chats, and social media.