Covid-19 update: Tobacco drama simmers down, case in Union Buildings

Covid-19 update: Tobacco drama simmers down, case in Union Buildings

Wednesday saw big tobacco giants opting out of challenging the current cigarette ban. explores the top stories as the battle against Covid-19 continues.

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The hype around the controversial lockdown cigarette ban has died down after a key player in the market opted out of pursuing legal action. explores this story and other Covid-19 updates.

1. Covid-19: Mkhize confirms 7 572 cases, fatalities climb up to 148

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has released the latest statistics on the coronavirus pandemic in South Africa.

In a statement from the Health Ministry, Mkhize confirmed that the total number of Covid-19 cases in South Africa is 7 572.

The minister noted that the number of deaths has also seen an increase, commenting that 10 more fatalities had been reported.

"Regrettably, we report 10 more Covid-19 related deaths, 7 from the Western Cape, 1 from the Eastern Cape, 1 from KwaZulu-Natal and 1 from Gauteng. This brings the total deaths nationally to 148. We wish to express our condolences to the families of the deceased and thank the health care workers who treated these patients."

2. Covid-19: Presidency confirms positive case at the Union Buildings

President Cyril Ramaphosa's spokesperson Khusela Diko has confirmed that a Union Building employee has tested positive for the coronavirus.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the presidency confirmed that the individual had tested positive.

"Public and staff access to the Union Buildings is currently limited following the confirmation that a staff member has tested positive for Covid-19. In line with government’s guidelines on the management of Covid-19 cases, steps have been taken to secure treatment of the relevant staff member and to provide support to the member’s family."

3. Fact check: No, SAPS did not confiscate 200 food parcels from church

A social media post doing the rounds claims that members of the South African Police Service confiscated 200 food parcels from a church.

The parcels had allegedly been intended for vulnerable white citizens at the Bonaccord squatter camps.

The allegation had prompted outrage on social media, with citizens denouncing the apparent victimisation.

However, the SAPS has responded to the allegations, denying them as fake news as well as 'baseless, false and malicious'.

"A post on social media claiming that police confiscated 200 food parcels that church wanted to hand out at a Bonaccord squatter camp near Pretoria, is FAKE NEWS. The mentioned church has no knowledge of such an incident."

4. Tobacco giant opts out of challenging cigarette ban in court

British American Tobacco South Africa has revealed it won't be legally trying to legally strongarm the state into lifting the current bans.

The company had opted out of taking the matter to court, explaining in a statement that:

"We have taken the decision not to pursue legal action at this stage but, instead, to pursue further discussions with government on the formulation and application of the regulations under the Covid-19 lockdown."

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