COVID-19 infection

What need to know about Covid-19?

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment. However, some will become seriously ill and require medical attention.

Do smokers suffer more with Covid-19?

Research shows that smokers generally face a higher risk of contracting respiratory tract infections, like lung and chest infections so it makes sense that, because the coronavirus is a respiratory disease, smoking might increase your chances of contracting a severe case of the virus.

One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at 1,099 patients in China with COVID-19. It showed that of 173 patients who had severe symptoms, 16.9% of them were current smokers. The study concluded that, in a group of patients that were either admitted to an intensive care unit, needed mechanical ventilation, or ultimately died – 25.5% were smokers.

There’s more to it than that, though – the simple act of bringing a cigarette to your mouth means you are touching your lips with your hands and a (possibly) contaminated cigarette. This further increases your risk of contracting coronavirus.

Besides facing a higher risk of infection, smoking can cause a range of other long- and short-term health problems including lung, mouth, or throat cancer, heart disease, stroke and more. So, now that the sale of cigarettes has been banned during the lockdown period, there has never been a better time to quit. 

If you need some help quitting, call the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) QUIT Line at 011 720 3145 or send an email to [email protected] to start your journey to better health.

Better yet, sign up for CANSA’s e-Kick Butt programme – it’s FREE.

What is the penalty for spreading fake news?

Anyone that creates or spreads fake news about the Coronavirus COVID-19 is liable for prosecution.

Verify the information before you sharing online by cross-referencing the data with reputable sources such as the World Health Organisation, the NHS, SA’s Department of Health,

You can report fake news through the Real411 website: www.real411.org or the Whatsapp line 067 966 4015.

Is COVID-19 exposing corrupt public servants?

Police Minister Bheki Cele has expressed concern at the large number of public officials arrested for violating COVID-19 regulations. 

Cele, during a visit to KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday to assess adherence to the National State of Disaster regulations, revealed that 131 officials have been arrested since last month. The arrested include security forces, government officials and councillors. 

Among them were two Sergeants from Katlehong, Gauteng, who were arrested after allegedly demanding a bribe from a businessman, who had contravened the lockdown regulations. 

Cele said the two allegedly promised the businessman that they would destroy the docket in exchange for R12 000.

“The members we have arrested face a variety of charges relating to the prohibition of the selling of liquor during the lockdown where some were caught drinking, some buying and selling liquor, some for corruption and defeating the ends of justice, some for organising gatherings in contravention of the regulations, some even going as far as allegedly staging break-ins in the Western Cape – just to go and steal alcohol from closed liquor outlets,” the Minister said. 

At this stage, Cele said it needs to be emphasised that the only permit that may be obtained from the police, which can also be obtained from a Magistrate, is for travelling across provincial boundaries to and from a funeral. Police are not responsible for any other lockdown permits. 

This comes after police were last week inundated by enquiries and complaints from parents asking for permits to fetch children in other provinces. 

“Some parents were subsequently sent back at roadblocks or even arrested as they do not fall within the category of parents allowed to travel for this purpose, for example, parents sharing custody,” the Minister said. 

In relation to the sale of liquor, members of the public are encouraged to continue to adhere to the regulations. 

“The ban on the sale of liquor is still in place,” Cele said.

At Maponya Mall in Soweto, six suspects and a tavern owner were arrested as police responded to information of liquor being sold illegally at the mall.

How can I keep my house virus-free?

We know that washing our hands with soap and water is good enough to keep them virus free but cleaning your house requires a little more effort.

IMPORTANT: Before you start cleaning, wash your hands and wear disposable gloves.

Here is how you can keep your house virus-free –


  • If you are just performing regular cleaning, use soap and warm water to wash frequently-touch surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, phones, computer keyboards, and toilet seats.
  • If surfaces are visibly dirty, make use of a detergent or disinfectant.
  • Be sure to wear gloves and open windows throughout the house to ensure good ventilation while using potent cleaning products such as bleach. Also, remember to check the product’s expiration date and whether the bleach is intended for disinfecting surfaces.
  • For softer surfaces such as carpets, rugs, and curtains – soap and water will be sufficient but there are products available for this.

Tip: To make an effective bleach solution, mix 4 teaspoons of bleach with 1 litre of water. For the best results, leave the solution on a surface for at least 1 minute before scrubbing.


As soon as you get home from the shops, change into another pair of clothing and wash the clothes you had on. If you wore a cloth mask, wash that separately with a disinfectant and hang it up to dry. 


Frequently touched items such as cell phones, tablets, keyboards, and remote controls should be wiped down frequently with alcohol-based hand wipes – but to avoid damage, use a clean, dry cloth immediately afterwards.  


We know that COVID-19 can survive longer on some surfaces so it’s important to clean items before packing them away.

  • The CDC recommends that we leave the items outside in a secure area for at least 72 hours to allow the virus to become inactive but that is not always possible.
  • So, wash and scrub fruits and vegetables not packaged in a bag with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and leave to dry.  
  • Wipe down well-packaged goods with alcohol-based surface wipes or disinfectant and leave to dry. Alternatively, and if possible, remove and discard the packaging before storing the items.

Finally, dispose of any packaging and protective equipment used and wash your hands.