DPA/Reuters /Cape Town/Rabat
The number of coronavirus infections jumped to 202 in South Africa yesterday, up from 150 the day before, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said.
South Africa, one of Africa’s most important economies, is now one of the continent’s coronavirus hotspots, though no deaths have yet been reported.
South African patients were presenting only mild symptoms and no Covid-19 patient had been admitted to an intensive care unit so far,
according to health minister Zweli Mkhize.
South Africa has implemented strict regulations in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus, including travel bans, limiting public gatherings to 100 people and allowing restaurants to only serve 50 patrons at a time, while banning bar sales after 6pm.
Ignoring any of the regulations, including spreading false information about the coronavirus, is now a crime in South Africa, punishable by up to six months in prison, a fine or both.
AIRLINE SUSPENDS FLIGHTS UNTIL MAY
South African Airways (SAA) said yesterday that it would immediately suspend all intercontinental flights until the end of May in response to a government travel ban aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus, Reuters reported.
State-owned SAA, which is under a form of bankruptcy protection, flies to the United States, Britain, Germany, Australia and Brazil on its intercontinental routes.
Earlier this week it said that it had already cancelled 162 intercontinental and regional flights until the end of this month.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday announced bans on travel to countries considered “high-risk” for the coronavirus, including the United States, Britain and Germany.
Separately, the specialists appointed in December to try to save SAA yesterday asked creditors for a two-month extension for their business rescue plan for the cash-strapped airline until May 29.
SAA hasn’t made a profit since 2011 and has received more than 20bn rand ($1.2bn) in bailouts over the last three years.
Another struggling state-owned airline, SA Express, suspended operations until further notice from Wednesday.
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