It’s Blackout Tuesday, a day promoted by activists to observe, mourn and bring about policy change in the wake of the death of George Floyd. This movement has spread on social media, where organizations, brands and individuals are posting solemn messages featuring stark black backgrounds, sometimes tagging the posts with #BlackLivesMatter and #BlackOutTuesday.
The movement was started by music execs Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, who wrote on a site that Tuesday, June 2 would be a day to pause all business and take a stand against the “racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard.”
The movement would take the form of people posting all black pictures to Instagram and other social media platforms.
There are large complaints about the movement, saying this is a time to spread awareness, and not just literally “black out” social media feeds. There are arguments that now, more than ever, is when communication shouldn’t be “blacked out.”
The hashtag is being rendered useless. When people click on the hashtag, they’re being confronted with a sea of black squares and not with anything about what’s going on with protests across the country.
As protests have spread across the US in response to the police killing of George Floyd, social media has provided an essential channel for both organizing demonstrations and sharing footage of police violence.
Over 100 labs around the world are scrambling to come up with a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, including 10 that have made it to the clinical trial stage.
Pharmaceutical company executives said on Thursday that one or several Covid-19 vaccines could begin rolling out before 2021, but they did warn about the challenges saying they would be “daunting” as it was estimated that 15 billion doses would be needed to halt the pandemic.
It can take years for a new vaccine to be licensed for general use, but in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, experimental vaccines shown to be safe and effective against the novel coronavirus could likely win approval for emergency use.
The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), which organised Thursday’s briefing, highlighted the “daunting” challenges facing the industry in the push for a vaccine.
One challenge, which may seem counterintuitive, is that transmission rates are rapidly declining in Europe where some of the trials have been taking place.
IFPMA director Thomas Cueni pointed to estimates that the world will need some 15 billion doses to stop the virus, posing massive logistical challenges.
He stressed that the industry was committed to ensuring equitable access to a future vaccine, but acknowledged that “we will not have sufficient quantities as from day one, even with the best efforts.”
Once a working vaccine is developed, one of the biggest obstacles to putting out the amount needed could surprisingly be that there are not enough glass vials to store the doses in.
The novel coronavirus has killed more than 355,000 people and infected at least 5.7 million worldwide in a matter of months.
Ramaphosa gave an update on the government’s risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of Covid-19 in the country. He had consulted with business, labour, religious leaders and the tourism industry prior to his address to the nation on the 24th of May. He announced on Sunday that shifting to the new alert level would also allow exercise at any time provided it is not in groups.
He said the country would be placed on level 3 of the national lockdown regulations on June 1. Alcohol will be sold when level 3 kicks.
He mentioned that the “drastic containment measures taken” that had been imposed on the nation had slowed the rate of infection and prevented health facilities from being overwhelmed, although this had caused “great hardship” to many people.
“We have known all along that the lockdown would only delay the virus … not stop it,” he said.
On Sunday evening there were 22,583 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country and 429 deaths.
Student and model Bianca Schoombee gained all the wrong attention literally overnight on Tuesday after an unknown Twitter user took a deep dive into the Miss South Africa hopeful’s Twitter feed.
The 21-year-old has won everyones attention when she had posted her virtual Miss SA entry on Twitter Saturday explaining why she believes she should take over from Sasha Lee Laurel.
Her newfound fame turned to notoriety when tweets of the young Schoombee using the n-word, dropping f-bombs and referring to people as sluts, and went as far as to commenting on someone’s skin colour which was unearthed. This turned the spotlight on more of her tweets.
Schoombee, like many other hopefuls, had to post her entry video to social media as part of the current format of the competition. In addition to having to post their introduction video on social media using the hashtag #MissSA2020 and tagging @Official Miss South Africa in their posts, entrants had to give the judging panel and organisation consent to do any and all necessary background checks.
Upon submitting entries, hopefuls agreed to adhere to the organisations’ media and communications policy which have not been made available to the public as of yet.
Please note: the following tweets contain strong language.
The thread continues, click on the link above for more.
Basic education minister Angie Motshekga told parliament that she was still consulting teachers, governing bodies and students about plans to reopen schools, on Tuesday morning, this just hours before she was due to brief the media on government’s final decision on the re-opening of the education sector.
Teachers and families will be keenly watching to see which schools will be permitted to open, and which grades will go back first. A plan discussed with interest groups last week has proposed schools in areas with high Covid-19 transmission should remain shut, and face-to-face teaching resume for only Grade 12 learners.
Her original proposal, announced in April, was that learners would return in a phased manner, starting with grades 12 and 7. Office workers were to resume duties on May 4, school management teams on May 11, and teachers were expected to return to schools on May 18.
The minister still faces a stiff opposition from unions to the opening of schools on June 1, because many provinces have yet to convince teachers that they are going to return to a safe working environment, and has repeatedly delayed scheduled briefings.
Motshekga is expected to brief the media on the plans for reopening schools at 18:00 this evening.
As of Monday evening, SA has recorded 16,433 cases of Covid-19 and 286 deaths. Close to 10,000 of the cases being in the Western Cape.
A few of Mzansi’s most famous and loved faces questioned the address made by president Cyril Ramaphosa last night.
Ramaphosa had announced that a consultation process would start soon so that to move the rest of South Africa to level 3 lockdown by the beginning of June, he did warn that high-risk areas will remain on level 4 lockdown.
He explained the lockdown to be a way of curbing the spread of the coronavirus whilst also acknowledging the governments faults when it came to laying out and enforcing lockdown regulations.
The president did not however deliver clarity on alcohol and cigarette sales that many were hoping he would, but a few celebrities praised him for his humility in apologising for the government’s mistakes. Here’s what they had to say.
Others questioned the sales of ciggies and booze not being announced as said to have been.
People are unimpressed and are still awaiting an announcement of weather these items will be legal to purchase at the start of Level 3 lockdown. We can only wait and see.
As infections continue to rise, prisoners await Covid-19 parole. The department of correctional services continues to work with thousands of applications for inmates who could be eligible for parole.
Wardens day that the number of infections in prisons continues to rise. As of Wednesday the department reported 19 new cases, 10 inmates and 9 officials, which brings the total number of infections in correctional services to 355.
3 inmates have died due to complications related to the virus and 92 recoveries.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that government plans to ease lockdown restrictions so that most of the country can enter into level 3 lockdown by the end of May. He did warn each citizen about the dangers of lifting lockdown regulations too quickly, saying should measures be lifted too quickly, it would counteract the efforts that have been made so far.
“If we lift the lockdown too abruptly and too quickly, we risk a rapid and unmanageable surge in infections. We will therefore continue to proceed cautiously,” he said in an address to the nation.
Ramaphosa went on to say that the areas with a widespread and uncontrolled amount of infections of the coronavirus would likely remain on level 4. Decisions on which of those areas areas would be moved to different levels will be done in consultation with various officials. Although this has been said, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Free State, Northern Cape have already been transitioned to level 3.
Ramaphosa said there would be changes to the existing regulations for level 4 of lockdown, mentioning reducing the restrictions about exercise.l
The address comes after Ramaphosa met cabinet members and the national coronavirus command council.
After revealing that the competition will go ahead with a “new format” due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Miss SA Organisation announced on Monday that the search for a new queen has officially begun.
“To the woman who is empowered, ready to own her powerful voice. To the woman whose duty is to serve and catalyse real social impact. To the woman who is a champion, willing to represent our nation on a global stage. To the woman whose beauty is in her authenticity. To the women ready to Face their power and Embrace their future! ARE YOU READY?” a post on the official Miss SA Instagram account reads.
The message was shared alongside a powerful video of former Miss SA and reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi.
Those who wish to enter the pageant can do so via the organisation’s website. The link is given bellow. Good luck.