CapeTown ETC South Africa
The iconic Red bus is back on Cape Town streets - CapeTown ETC
The famed City Sighteeing 'Red Bus' is back in action and ready to welcome visitors, residents and provincial travellers. Operations began on Saturday, August 8 with new health and safety regulations in place.
The famed City Sighteeing ‘Red Bus’ is back in action and ready to welcome visitors, residents and provincial travellers. Operations began on Saturday, August 8 with new health and safety regulations in place. In a statement, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management James Vos said this follows much lobbying national government to reopen the travel and tourism sectors for leisure, with the observance of extensive health and safety protocols, in a bid to stem the current job loss. All staff on the bus have received extensive training to ensure they understand the virus, how it spreads, the symptoms and how long it survives on surfaces as well as the required sanitisation and distancing procedures for themselves and guests. All passengers will have their hands sanitised before boarding the bus, and are required to wear a face mask. Here are some other safety measures they have put in place: – Only every second row of seats is used – Buses are fully sanitised every night and wiped down twice on every circuit during the day – Staff in their stores have screens between them and the public – All staff have sanitiser at their disposal – Staff are on screened arrival and during the day to ascertain whether they have any of the observable symptoms associated with COVID-19 Visitors will also receive extensive information about COVID-19 protocols. This information is in an easy to understand picture format such as leaflets, posters, banners and signs. It has been placed on vehicle seats, sales desks, and entrance doors. “While we are now allowed to travel within our provinces, I believe these sectors and the ones that underpin them such as restaurants, should be reopened nationally and internationally,” says Vos. “From my many engagements and site visits with stakeholders across these vital sectors, I have seen that it is possible to reopen safely and have been impressed by the extensive safety measures in place. “Tourism is and will remain a key industry in our City and it is central to our economic recovery. I will continue to fight for the unfettered reopening of this and related sectors like food and beverages. “The tourism bounce back strategy the City has developed together with the City of Cape Towns official Destination Marketing Organisation, Cape Town Tourism, can ensure that we breathe life back into the tourism industry and plot a sustainable and inclusive future for this vital and vibrant sector.” As a special post lock down re-start offer, the service is offering a Route specific ticket for only R 99 per adult. For more information and to book a trip on the bus, visit their website here. Picture: Supplied
These dogs are trained to sniff out the coronavirus. Most have a 100% success rate - CapeTown ETC
What does a pandemic smell like? If dogs could talk, they might be able to tell us.We’re part of an international research team, led by Dominique Grandjean at France’s National Veterinary School of Alfort, that has been training detector dogs to sniff out tra…
What does a pandemic smell like? If dogs could talk, they might be able to tell us. Were part of an international research team, led by Dominique Grandjean at Frances National Veterinary School of Alfort, that has been training detector dogs to sniff out traces of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) since March. These detector dogs are trained using sweat samples from people infected with COVID-19. When introduced to a line of sweat samples, most dogs can detect a positive one from a line of negative ones with 100% accuracy. Across the globe, coronavirus detector dogs are being trained in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Belgium. In the UAE, detector dogs stationed at various airports have already started helping efforts to control COVID-19s spread. This is something we hope will soon be available in Australia too. A keen nose Our international colleagues found detector dogs were able to detect SARS-CoV-2 in infected people when they were still asymptomatic, before later testing positive. When it comes to SARS-CoV-2 detection, we dont know for sure what the dogs are smelling. Sweat is used for tests as its not considered infectious for COVID-19. This means it presents less risk when handling samples.The volatile organic compounds (VOCs) given off in the sweat samples are a complex mix. So its likely the dogs are detecting a particular profile rather than individual compounds. COVID-19 sniffing dogs in Australia Here in Australia, were currently working with professional trainers of detector dogs in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. The most common breed used for this work so far has been the German shepherd, with various other breeds also involved. We are also negotiating with health authorities to collect sweat samples from people who have tested positive to the virus, and from those who are negative. We hope to start collecting these within the next few months. We will need to collect thousands of negative samples to make sure the dogs arent detecting other viral infection, such as the common cold or influenza. In other countries, theyve passed this test with flying colours. Once operational, detector dogs in Australia could be hugely valuable in many scenarios, such as screening people at airports and state borders, or monitoring staff working in aged care facilities and hospitals daily (so they dont need repeat testing). To properly train a dog to detect SARS-CoV-2, it takes: – 6-8 weeks for a dog that is already trained to detect other scents, or – 3-6 months for a dog that has never been trained. Could the dogs spread the virus further? Dogs in experimental studies have not been shown to be able to replicate the virus (within their body). Simply, they themselves are not a source of infection. Currently, there are two case reports in the world of dogs being potentially contaminated with the COVID-19 virus by their owners. Those dogs didnt become sick. To further reduce any potential risk of transmission to both people and dogs, the apparatus used to train the dogs doesnt allow any direct contact between the dogs nose and the sweat sample. The dogs nose goes into a stainless steel cone, with the sweat sample in a receptacle behind. This allows free access to the volatile olfactory compounds but no physical contact. Furthermore, all the dogs trained to detect COVID-19 are regularly checked by nasal swab tests, rectal swab tests and blood tests to identify antibodies. So far, none of the detector dogs has been found to be infected. Hurdles to jump Now and in the future, it will be important for us to identify any instances where detector dogs may present false positives (signalling a sample is positive when its negative) or false negatives (signalling the sample is negative when its positive). Were also hoping our work can reveal exactly which volatile olfactory compound(s) is/are specific to COVID-19 infection. This knowledge might help us understand the disease process resulting from COVID-19 infection and in detecting other diseases using detector dogs. This pandemic has been a huge challenge for everyone. Being able to find asymptomatic people infected with the coronavirus would be a game-changer and thats what we need right now. A COVID-19 detector dog enrolled in the NOSAIS program led by professor Dominique Grandjean and Clothilde Julien from the Alfort Veterinary School (France). A friend to us (and science) Perhaps we shouldnt be surprised about dogs ability to detect COVID-19, as we already know their noses are amazing. Dogs can help detect hypoglycaemia in diabetics, warn people who are about to have an epileptic seizure and have been used to sniff out some cancers. Their great potential in dealing with the current pandemic is just one of myriad examples of how dogs enrich our lives. This article was written by Susan Hazel, Senior Lecturer, School of Animal and Veterinary Science, University of Adelaide and Anne-Lise Chaber, One Health Lecturer, School of Animal and Veterinary Science, University of Adelaide. It is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here.
Astronomical events in August to get excited for - CapeTown ETC
It seems Capetonians still have exciting astronomical events to look forward to this year as August promises to be an eventful month. So if you're looking for a reason to break out the telescope or to simply gaze up at the sky for a while, here are some event…
It seems Capetonians still have exciting astronomical events to look forward to this year as August promises to be an eventful month. So if you’re looking for a reason to break out the telescope or to simply gaze up at the sky for a while, here are some events to look forward to. Mars Conjunction On August 8, stargazers will be able to spot Mars as it rises in the night sky. The Mars solar conjunction takes place when Mars and Earth are perfectly positioned opposite from one another as they orbit around the sun. Often during a solar conjunction, hot ionized gas emitted by the sun affects radio signals and interferes with space communication. Mars will be perfectly visible from Cape Town during the evening so be sure to take out your telescope for a look. Perseids Meteor Shower Peak Perseids Meteor Shower is active from July 17 to August 24 but it is at its most active and beautiful on August 12. It will be most visible in the Southern Hemisphere during the hours of 4am and 8am. During its peak day, the Perseids Shower is described as radiant and can bring as many as 110 meteors per hour. The shower is caused by Earth passing through debris left behind by comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle. It gets its name ‘Perseids’ because the meteors associated with the showers seem to originate from the Perseus constellation. Picture: Pexels
COVID-19 active cases decrease again in Western Cape - CapeTown ETC
In the Western Cape 52 people have died of COVID-19 complications in the past 24 hours, local Government said on Wednesday [July 22].
In the Western Cape 52 people have died of COVID-19 complications in the past 24 hours, local Government said on Wednesday [July 22]. This brings the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the province to 2 746. There are also 12 135 active cases. On Tuesday, July 21 there were 12 254 active cases and on Wednesday there were 119 less. This is the second day in a row that the active case numbers have dropped. The latest COVID-19 figures (Source: Western Cape Government) More data is available here: https://coronavirus.westerncape.gov.za/covid-19-dashboard The Western Cape Government is deeply concerned by the growing joblessness pandemic emerging in the Western Cape and South Africa. “Data released by Statistics South Africa on Tuesday lays bare the harsh reality of the impact that the lockdown has had on the food and beverages industry in particular,” Cape government said. Their stats show that in April, when the country was under the hard lockdown, revenue for restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and take-away businesses fell 94% when compared to April 2019. In May, under lockdown level four, revenue fell by 87,9% compared to May 2019. “In the Western Cape, where tourism and hospitality are among the leading job creators, the impact on employment will be devastating,” provincial government said. “Jobs are not ‘nice-to-haves’. They are the difference between putting food on the table, and starving. We have to treat this second pandemic with equal determination because it will also cost lives.” The number of COVID-19 cases per municipality (Source: Western Cape Government) According to provincial government, the Cape has worked around the clock to prepare it’s healthcare system for the peak of infections, and while under pressure, it’s health platform is coping because of these interventions. “We will not let our foot off the pedal and will continue to work tirelessly to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. But we cannot just leave it there. All levels of government must also realise that jobs do save lives too, and they must act in a way that takes this seriously. For this to happen, we need smart, innovative solutions to our complex problems. We need to work together with private sector and find ways to allow business to re-open safely.” The number of COVID-19 cases per sub-district (Source: Western Cape Government) Provincial government maintains will continue to fight for the safe re-opening of the economy and will work with the private sector in ensuring this happens. “Lets work together as partners and get our people back to work, safely. If we act in this way now, we can defeat both the COVID and unemployment pandemics in South Africa.” Picture:
Asteroid to pass by Earth on July 24 - CapeTown ETC
July has certainly been an eventful month as far as astrological events are concerned and another exciting occurrence will take place soon. Asteroid 2020 ND is expected to pass by Earth before the month is through.
July has certainly been an eventful month as far as astrological events are concerned and another exciting occurrence will take place soon. Asteroid 2020 ND is expected to pass by Earth before the month is through. Classified as a NEO or Near-Earth Object and a PHA or Potentially Hazardous Asteroid by NASA, Asteroid 2020 ND will safely fly by Earth on July 24. When an asteroid or comet comes close to Earth we call it a near-Earth object. But how close is close? How do we keep track of them? What can we do to mitigate our risk? Heres what you need to know about near-Earth objects this #AsteroidDay: pic.twitter.com/mCjW3FSoz5 NASA (@NASA) June 30, 2020 The huge asteroid is estimated to be 160 metres in diameter and is passing by our planet for the sixth time, according to NASA records. This is not the first time the asteroid is visiting Earth as it often orbits around the sun and comes close to both Earth and Mars every now and then. Asteroids are simply rocks left over in space following the formation of the solar system, they are most commonly found in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars but are also seen orbiting planets. NASA estimates that there are roughly 1-million known asteroids. Asteroid 2020 ND will be 5 570 000 km from Earth as it passes by. Picture: Unsplash
Scientists identify six types of coronavirus - CapeTown ETC
In a breakthrough that could help experts better treat COVID-19 patients, a group of scientists have realised the existence of six distinct types of coronavirus, all with their own symptoms.
In a breakthrough that could help experts better treat COVID-19 patients, a group of scientists have realised the existence of six distinct types of coronavirus, all with their own symptoms. A new study done by researchers from King’s College London, collated via a COVID Symptom Study app has revealed that different forms of the virus are directly affecting the severity of symptoms among patients. These findings have huge implications for the management and treatment of COVID-19, as it could help doctors predict who is most at risk and likely to need professional care. Although there are a number of symptoms including coughing, fever and loss of smell highlighted as the main symptoms of COVID-19, data gathered via the app show that people in reality experience a large range of different symptoms. Some have reported fatigue, confusion, loss of appetite, muscle pain, headaches and shortness of breathe among others. The range of these symptoms also varies widely, with some experiencing mild flu-like symptoms, while others have severe or even fatal experiences. A machine algorithm was used to analyse data taken from the app to pair symptoms that most commonly appear together. Roughly 1600 users from the US and UK regularly logged their symptoms via the app. Six specific groupings of symptoms were revealed by the analysis, representing six distinct types of the virus that take place at different time points in the progression of the virus. The algorithm was tested again on a second independent data set of 1000 users from the US, Sweden and the UK, who all logged their symptoms in May. “All people reporting symptoms experienced headache and loss of smell, with varying combinations of additional symptoms at various times. Some of these, such as confusion, abdominal pain and shortness of breath, are not widely known as COVID-19 symptoms, yet are hallmarks of the most severe forms of the disease,” said Kings College London in a statement. The team managed to break the six forms down as follows:
- (flu-like with no fever): Headache, loss of smell, muscle pains, cough, sore throat, chest pain, no fever.
- (flu-like with fever): Headache, loss of smell, cough, sore throat, hoarseness, fever, loss of appetite.
- (gastrointestinal): Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, diarrhea, sore throat, chest pain, no cough.
- (severe level one, fatigue): Headache, loss of smell, cough, fever, hoarseness, chest pain, fatigue.
- (severe level two, confusion): Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain.
- (severe level three, abdominal and respiratory): Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain, shortness of breath, diarrhea, abdominal pain.
Western Cape has 13 756 active cases of COVID-19 - CapeTown ETC
As of Monday July 17, the Western Cape has 13 756 active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 83 480 confirmed cases and 67 181 recoveries.
As of Monday July 17, the Western Cape has 13 756 active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 83 480 confirmed cases and 67 181 recoveries. The province also recorded an additional 50 deaths, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the province to 2543. The breakdown is as follows: Sub-districts: Masks for Madiba: I would like to thank all of those who have come on board to donate masks and funds in our Masks for Madiba drive ahead of Mandela Day tomorrow. We have received many generous donations, that will help us get masks to thousands more people in the province- helping to keep them and their loved ones safe.=, Premier Alan Winde said in a statement. It’s not too late to donate – anyone wishing to pledge can still do so. To pledge, fill out the pledge form by clicking here. Department of Social Development assistance to ECD’s: The Department of Social Development in the province has re-prioritised R10.2 million in funding to assist Early Childhood Development centres to re-open safely. The funds will be used to procure PPE, prepare sites for re-opening and to prevent and manage the spread of COVID-19 at registered and conditionally registered ECD services. The funding will be issued to currently funded social service organisations, who will prioritise the need for support packages based on a defined set of eligibility criteria. Diabetes and COVID-19: Diabetics are particularly vulnerable to severe illness once they become symptomatic and require earlier care and intervention for a better health outcome. Research in the province has shown that many diabetics are only tested for COVID-19 when they arrive at the hospital with severe symptoms such as shortness of breath. A message to all diabetics is that if you have any symptoms, get tested as soon as possible. This allows heath care workers to identify your risk and ensure that you become part of our risk stratified approach to treating diabetics with COVID-19. The action plan focuses on low, medium and high risk to decrease the morbidity and mortality amongst people with diabetes. Low risk: Those whose diabetes are well controlled with no additional comorbidities. They will receive daily calls from the Departments Contact Centre to check their symptoms. Should they struggle to control their glucose level and their condition deteriorates, they will be offered admission to a hospital where their condition can be treated and controlled. Medium: Persons whose diabetes are well or moderately controlled with additional comorbidities. They will receive daily calls from PODS to check their symptoms and their blood glucose level and, if deemed medically necessary, will be offered admission to the Hospital of Hope where their condition can be treated and controlled. High: Persons with poorly controlled diabetes, with additional comorbidities and over the age of 70 years old. They will be contacted and offered admission to a tertiary hospital to receive the necessary specialised medical care. More data is available by clicking here. Image: Pixabay
Nestlé confirms Peppermint Crisp, Bar One are here to stay - CapeTown ETC
An image circulating on social media showing a Spar announcement that multiple Nestlé chocolates are being discontinued is not completely true.
An image circulating on social media showing a Spar announcement that multiple Nestlé chocolates are being discontinued is not completely true. Nestlé have confirmed that some are being taken out of production but the big favourites are here to stay. Peppermint Crisp but how we gonna make for Fridge Tart then pic.twitter.com/pTEfDoDyVe Simon (@simon_orgill) July 17, 2020 You won’t see Chocolate Log, Bar One Peanut, Milkybar Peanut, Milkybar double, Milo chocolate and Milo 8 on the shelves as they are being discontinued as of August. The confusion crept in because the company is discontinuing certain sizes of the beloved chocolates. So Peppermint Crisp will still be available but the 24 x 150g won’t be. The sizes being discontinued are: – Kit Kat 2F white 6 x 20g – Crunch Milk 24 x 80g – Milkybar Smarties 8 (10 x 80g) – Milkybar Krackle 8 (10 x 80g) – Quality Street Gift Box 12 x 200g & Bag 8 x 500g This doesn’t mean that no full sizes are being taken off the shelves. “What an overwhelming outpouring of support we have seen from our dedicated customers! First and foremost, Nestlé Bar One, Peppermint Crisp, Quality Street and Milky Bar are here to stay,” said the company. We are making way for new, tastier and exciting products for you to enjoy and fall in love with because you deserve it!” they said. Picture: Twitter/ AfricaMentor
Hoax Whatsapp COVID-19 message doing rounds again - CapeTown ETC
A new, or rather re-worked, WhatsApp hoax message has been doing the rounds again. This time, warning WhatsApp users not to open a supposed video being sent around which in fact hacks your phone within ten seconds.
A new, or rather re-worked WhatsApp hoax message has been doing the rounds again. This time, it is warning WhatsApp users not to open a supposed video being sent around that is said to hack your phone within ten seconds. The hoax message reads: “Just a heads up….They are going to start circulating a video on WhatsApp that shows how the COVID-19 curve is flattening in Argentina. The file is called “Argentina is doing it”, do not open it or see it, it hacks your phone in 10 seconds and it cannot be stopped in any way. Pass the information on to your family and friends. Now they also said it on CNN.” There is no CNN article regarding this hoax and it is in fact just a reworked version of the same kind of message trick that has been floating around since 2017, according to News18. This kind of message is related to the “Martinelli” hoax, which has the same format of warning users that some sort of video is a trap to help malware be installed on your phone. The name comes from what is considered the possible first iteration of this hoax which warned of the “Martinelli” video which would hack your phone. In 2018, fact-checking site Snopes debunked this message and assured WhatsApp users that their phone and data was safe. How to make sure you’re not passing on a viral hoax message: Viral hoax messages may seem harmless but they cause panic and sew seeds of distrust in possible important warnings and so passing them on is harmful. Avoiding being fooled and looking foolish is easy. – Always question a message that is being forwarded to you, especially if you get it from more than one person – Do a quick Google search to find out if there is any more information on this message before passing it on. In this case they claim it is on CNN, a quick search on the news site will prove this to be false. – Be especially weary of messages forwarded on WhatsApp that have a double arrow, this means the message has been forwarded through a chain of five or more chats. This is a key indicator of a false story. – Consider the validity of the argument, spelling and punctuation. Often viral hoax or fake news messages have poor spelling and grammar. The content is also quite far-fetched or poorly considered. Picture: Pexels
Nestlé confirms Chocolate Log will be discontinued - CapeTown ETC
Sad, but true. Nestlé has announced it will be discontinuing the production of their Chocolate Log product in South Africa from August.
Sad, but true. Nestlé has announced it will be discontinuing the production of their Chocolate Log product in South Africa from August. The news first hit social media when a speciality food supplier, Aubergine Speciality Foods which supplies South African delicacies for those in Canada, posted on Facebook that the beloved chocolate treat will no longer be available. The company has since confirmed this, saying: “As Nestlé, our purpose is to delight our consumers through tastier and healthier products. We know that one of the main drivers of the chocolate category is innovation and that consumers love new products. Taking this into consideration, we do discontinue certain products and introduce new ones to the market.” The chocolate, made with a marshmallow centre sitting on a crisp wafer and covered in chocolate, has been a staple of school tuck shops, corner stores and sweet aisles for the past 50 years. “We equally understand that its discontinuation may somehow disappoint some of our loyal consumers,” said the company. South Africans on social media are definitely disappointed, with many expressing how much they are going to miss the unique chocolate. “Nooooo that’s shocking… All the good chocolates get discontinued,” said one. Others compared this to other chocolates which have been slowly disappearing off our shelves. “First Tempo now this. It’s a travesty,” a social media user said. Some, on the other hand, are fine seeing the sweet treat go, saying similar options will be good enough to replace it. “It’s all good. They don’t make them like they used to. I will stick to a Sweetie Pie instead. Same thing.” Nestlé said South Africans have new exciting offerings to look forward to as they plan on bringing out a variety of new chocolates in the coming months. Image: Aubergine Speciality Foods/Facebook