The President of the SA Rugby Union (SARU) Mark Alexander again urged the government to immediately reinstate the 100% capacity at the country’s rugby stadiums.

Alexander says the sport is currently under heavy financial pressure, due to the two years of lockdown restrictions, and the 50% limit at major sporting events.

He says rugby tournaments can generate up to R18.6-billion this year if fully attended.

Alexander urges the government to lift the attendance restrictions before July when the Springboks play their first Test for 2022.

Alexander says it’s unfair that shopping malls are allowed to receive large numbers of people on a daily basis, while sporting events have to be content with half-empty stadiums.

He says it is extremely important for the sport if it wants to survive this financial year, that more people should be allowed at stadiums.

Get the latest SARU updates here and here.

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Local virology-expert, Professor Barry Schoub says it is still advisable that South Africans continue wearing a face mask to help protect themselves from contracting Covid-19.

This, after many residents hoped the adjusted health- and safety regulations, published this week, came with the ditching of the masking rule.

Schoub says with the uptick in infections, it is best to, especially when indoors and around others, to continue masking up.

He says there is enough evidence that points to the efficacy of masks.

Follow the latest Department of Health updates here.

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The Dubai-based airline, Emirates says it has, since the easing of the Covid-19 travel restrictions, seen a dramatic increase in the demand for flights to and from South Africa.

Before the pandemic, the airline had 49 weekly flights to and from SA.

Emirates Regional Manager for Southern Africa, Afzal Parambil says, over the past few weeks, the airline managed to reinstate 26 flights to South Africa.

Parambil says they are struggling to keep up with demand.

The airline will also boost its cooperation with SA Airlink to offer visitors access to more South African destinations, from June this year.

Parambil says the airline says it has managed to reinstate almost 70% of its flights to South Africa already.

He says the airline anticipates having 80% of flight capacity on offer by the middle of 2022.

Find the latest flight updates from Emirates here.

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The Western Cape’s healthcare system is ready for the fifth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Head of Health, Dr. Keith Cloete says the system is, like with the previous waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, ready to react should there be a drastic increase in hospitalizations.
Cloete says the capacity that has been built in the healthcare system, over the past 2 years, can easily be re-activated should the need arise.

He spoke to ENCA and says all systems are in place to deal with the expected 5th wave.

Cloete says the sudden increase in Covid-19 infections, recorded in the past few days, should not be a cause for alarm.

This past weekend, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said the country’s test-positivity rate reached the 22% mark, with Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape recording the majority of new infections.

Cloete says newer versions of the Omicron variant are responsible for this surge in new infections.

Read more here.

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New research by the South African Medical Research Council has shown that the Covid-19 pandemic – and its related restrictions – have had a severe negative impact on the mental health of adolescent girls and young women.
According to Dr. Zoe Duby, lead researcher at the University of Cape Town’s School of Public Health and Family Medicine, the restrictions worsened levels of unemployment, poverty, and food insecurity.

Duby says it also led to higher levels of anxiety and depression among participants.

She says there was however a silver lining to be found in all the devastation.

Read more here.

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