Ever heard of a virtual Safari? We live in the land of the Big Five. Most middle to upper income people in this country have seen the animals in all their live glory. Tourists used to stream in across our borders to go on tours or camps in our game reserves, some of the best known in the world. Many others came to hunt on the game farms of the Eastern Cape and elsewhere in the country. Now that’s all come to an end with zero flights landing and most of the border posts firmly closed.
If you’ve been forced to stop working due to the lockdown, you may be entitled to claim from the Unemployment Insurance Fund. In South Africa, every person who works more than 24 hours a month must contribute 1% of their salary into the unemployment fund. The employer matches this with 1% of their own.
South Africa is the first country in Africa to roll out Corona virus screening and testing. The goal is to find out to what degree the virus has affected the people in the less affluent areas of South Africa. Up until now the disease has largely affected the middle to upper income areas as people who had travelled abroad returned and brought it with them.
The National Arts Festival is the biggest arts festival on the African continent. Every year since 1973 Africa’s artists have come together for eleven days in June/ July in the City of Saints. Here they showcase their talents to the thousands of South African’s that flock into the city to enjoy the diverse cultural feast of art, music, crafts, jazz, theatre and a whole lot more.
Ours is one of the most stringent lockdowns imposed anywhere in the world, with no one allowed to leave their homes. You may not jog or walk your dog. Many are confused as to how this affects those that live in complexes. Government has said that the management of such estates must control the activities of the tenants in such circumstances.
Just before lockdown the 3D printing community came together with the idea of helping frontline workers by putting their technology to good work. They planned to print personal protective equipment. These include reusable masks, face shields and valves that will allow four people to share a single ventilator.
Government set up the Solidarity Fund was set up last month with seed capital of R150 million. The aim of the fund is to slow the spread of Covid-19 and to help people to recover from the physical and economic devastation of the Coronavirus. Professional organisations from the private sector will administer the fund.
It may seem impossible to stay active when you are compelled to stay at home. Living conditions and spaces differ. So, for some it may be easier to stay active than it is for others. In South Africa the authorities have made it particularly difficult by banning any activity outside of the perimeter of your home. This includes walking the dog or taking a jog.
When it comes to wearing a facemask, we’ve been given conflicting advice. The World Health Organisation says that facemasks are unnecessary unless it is a medical mask and you are a healthcare worker or positive for Covid-19. On the other hand, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA now recommends their use. Little wonder there is confusion
The National Ventilator Project was recently established to deal with expected deficit in ventilator requirements in the coming months as South Africans fight the Coronavirus. The Department of Trade and Industry is driving the project. The project aims to produce at least 10 000 ventilators by mid-year. Government is currently looking at proposals from various manufacturers.
South Africans, in general, are not known for their patience or we wouldn’t have one of the highest rates of Gender Based Violence GBV in the world. By all reports, it appears that the lockdown has brought out the worst in some of us. There were 87,000 complaints of GBV reported in South Africa in the first eight days of lockdown.
When South Africa first went into Covid-19 lockdown the government made it clear that it would not allow children to move between separated parents during the lockdown period. Court orders notwithstanding, parents had to choose who would look after the children during the entire period. The only contact that these children could have with the other parent would be via social media. In South Africa this potentially affects about half a million parents.
Most South African’s have happy memories of Easter. Many take the opportunity to pack their bags and head off to their favourite seaside village, camping ground or riverside lodge. It’s a chance to enjoy the last of the good weather before winter sets in, a time to enjoy family discussions around the fire or hike along forest paths.
I’m a bit of a recreational shopper. Bored? I’m off to the shops. Cabin fever? I’m sure I need something at the mall. So, this whole lockdown has brought with it a sense of personal loss. I am well aware that I am better off than many who are sick or who have loved one’s in hospital and so I count my blessings every day. I still need to get out though!