Barcelona legend Xavi tests positive for coronavirus

Al Sadd head coach and Barcelona legend Xavi becomes the latest high-profile sporting personality to test positive for the coronavirus.

Former Barcelona midfield maestro Xavi Hernández has confirmed that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Al-Sadd coach has been preparing for the restart of the season in Qatar, which was suspended in March, but will now self-isolate until he’s given the green light to return to his team’s technical bench ahead of the return of football in the Gulf country.

Xavi tests positive for COVID-19

“Today I will not be able to accompany my team in the return to official competition.” Xavi told Al-Sadd’s official website.

“David Prats, reserve coach, will take my place as head of the technical team. A few days ago, following the QSL protocol, I tested positive in my most recent Covid-19 test.”

The Barcelona legend in good health

Despite testing positive, Xavi confirmed that his health is ‘perfectly fine’. He’s hoping to make a return to Al Sadd’s coaching bench as soon as the medical authorities grant him permission after concluding his mandatory isolation period.

“Luckily, I feel perfectly fine, but following the protocol, I will remain isolated until I have overcome it. When the medical authorities allow me, I will return to my daily routine and work more eagerly than ever.

“I thank all the authorities, especially those which allowed us the means for an early detection that avoids more spreading of the virus and guarantees the normal continuation of the season. A hug, and see you soon on the football pitch!”

Xavi was tipped for a return to his boyhood club Barcelona ahead of next season however the 40-year-old put speculation over his immediate future to bed after signing a 1-year extension at the Qatar based outfit.

Al Sadd are scheduled to play Al Khor later this evening (18:00 SAST), with the Qatari premier division returning after four months due to COVID-19.

Source: The South African Read More

Google to cut advertising that goes against the coronavirus ‘consensus’

The world’s largest internet search provider, Google, says it will ban advertisements from web pages that challenge the 'authoritative scientific consensus'.

Google has already banned adverts promoting phony coronavirus cures or touting “medical misinformation,” but the tech giant went one step further last week, telling CNBC that it will ban publishers from displaying Google ads next to coronavirus conspiracy content.

The firm added that if a site violates this policy sufficiently, the ban will be extended to the entire site. Google will use human and automated reviews to locate and take action against rule-breaking web publishers and advertisers.

The #DeepState collaboration engine, #Google, will double-down on their censoring of pages that contradict "authoritative scientific organizations."

Say goodbye to open scientific discussion.

Welcome to dystopia. via @Verge

— Jim Meehan, MD (@DocMeehan) July 18, 2020

What information gets banned on Google?

As for what kind of content will be deemed ban-worthy, a Google spokesperson told the news outlet that content claiming vaccines are a population control effort; that Bill Gates created the virus; and that it was a bioweapon engineered in a Chinese laboratory; would all fall foul of the new rule.

“We are putting additional safeguards in place by expanding our harmful health claims policies for both publishers and advertisers to include dangerous content about a health crisis that contradicts scientific consensus,” the spokesperson said.

Google’s “trust the experts” approach is the latest in a series of attempts to clamp down on coronavirus “misinformation.”

In March the company banned most non-governmental content about the outbreak, but pulled back when Democrats in the US complained this approach would benefit the Trump administration.

It also banned the sale of face masks, back when the scientific consensus was that they didn’t work. Since then, that consensus has shifted and going without a mask is now deemed a criminal offense in some countries, including here in South Africa.

#SouthAfrica will penalize people for not wearing #masks in public places to help curb the spread of #COVID19.

Employers and building owners will be penalized for granting access to unmasked persons. 🇿🇦😷

— CGTN Africa (@cgtnafrica) July 14, 2020

Google-owned YouTube has already prohibited monetisation of medical misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19.

Also read: Google: Here is how phishing and malware attacks are evolving

This content has been created as part of our freelancer relief programme. We are supporting journalists and freelance writers impacted by the economic slowdown caused by #lockdownlife.

If you are a freelancer looking to contribute to The South African, read more here.

Source: The South African Read More

Coronavirus: UK Summer economic update

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak continued with his campaign to support the business and jobs community on 8 July 2020, as firms engage with the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak and the measures taken to control infection.

The main thrust of his announcements during his Summer Economic update concerned his nominated Plan for Jobs 2020. Details are listed below.

He also announced measures to support the hospitality and tourism industry including a novel voucher scheme and a temporary reduction in VAT. Again, details are provided in the following update.

In an attempt to boost the flagging property market Stamp Duty is being temporarily reduced in England and Northern Ireland. Separate announcements on this topic are awaited for Scotland and Wales who have their own Stamp Duty regimes.

Details of these announcements

Job Retention Bonus

Employers that bring back an employee that was furloughed, and continuously employ them through to January 2021, will be paid a £1,000 government bonus per employee retained.

Employees must be seen to be gainfully employed during this period and be paid at least £520 a month, on average, from November 2020 to January 2021. All furloughed employees returned to employment in this way will be available for the £1,000 bonus. 

Kickstart scheme

This new scheme will cover the wages (plus associated costs) of new jobs created for any 16 to 24-year-old — at risk of long-term unemployment — for six months. These will have to be new jobs, of at least 25 hours a week and paid the National Minimum Wage.

Employers will need to offer kickstarters training and support to find a permanent job. Employers can apply to be part of this new scheme from next month – August 2020 with first jobs starting in the autumn. Government has made an initial £2 bn available for this scheme, but there is no cap on the number of places made available.


For the next six months, government will pay employers to create new apprenticeships. The amount payable will be £2,000 for each apprentice. A new bonus to take on apprentices aged over 25 has also been announced. This will amount to £1,500 per appointment.

Green jobs initiatives

As an incentive to create jobs in the green jobs’ market, a number of new grants have been announced. From September 2020, homeowners and landlords in England will be able to apply for a grant to make their home more energy efficient.

The £2 bn Green Homes grant will cover at least two-thirds of the cost up to £5,000 per household. For low income households these grants will cover all costs up to £10,000. There will also be a further £1 bn allocated to make public buildings greener.

Boost for the housing market

Presently, in England and Northern Ireland (different amounts apply in the regions) no Stamp Duty Land Tax is payable on residential property purchases below £125,000. From today – for a temporary period to 31 March 2021 – this threshold is increased to £500,000.

It is projected that this will reduce the average stamp duty bill by £4,500. Regional variations may apply. Purchasers buying a second residential property will still have to pay the 3% Stamp Duty Land Tax for property purchases up to £500,000.

VAT reduction for hospitality and tourism

For the next six months VAT charged on food, accommodation and attractions (such as eat-in or takeaway food in restaurants, cafes, pubs, cinemas, theme parks and zoos) will see VAT reduced from 20% to 5%. This will apply from 15th July 2020 until 12th January 2021.

Eat Out to Help Out discount

For the month of August 2020, meals eaten at any participating business Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, will be 50% off up to a maximum discount of £10 per head including children. To access the discount businesses will need to register and can do so through a website to be 13 July 2020.

Businesses will be able to claim the money back weekly with the money in their bank accounts within five working days. 

As we manage the cautious steps to emerge from lock-down, still wary of COVID-19, the new incentives announced by Rishi Sunak should be welcomed.

As more details emerge on the various schemes announced today they will be published accordingly.

For more information or assistance, please contact Exceed.

Source: The South African Read More

Every district in SA ‘is now a coronavirus hot-spot’ – Mkhize explains why

From 52 districts, South Africa has 52 coronavirus hot-spots. That's according to Zweli Mkhize, who explained how health officials made this classification.

Well, that’s something to catch the eye. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has revealed that, due to the way infection rates are defined in South Africa, every single district in the country can now be considered a ‘coronavirus hot-spot’. The stark admission comes as South Africa’s death tolled soars past the 4 000-mark.

Why all districts in SA ‘are now hot-spots’

The model used since the start of the pandemic suggests that any location with more than five active COVID-19 cases to report automatically becomes a hot-spot. Four months ago, when the first coronavirus patient in South Africa was identified, this seemed like a distant warning.

But now, it’s a grim reality. From the Northern Cape, through to the North West and Mpumalanga, even the districts that are less affected by the disease now meet the ‘five active cases’ definition. Our larger metros and densely-populated districts never had a chance, but all 52 regions of SA are no2 – in the technical sense – defined as coronavirus hot-spots. Minister Mkhize told the briefing on Monday:

“Initially, at the end of May, we had 10 hot-spots. But as it stands now, all 52 districts in South Africa can be considered hot-spots, based on our initial definitions. This is telling. If anyone doubted the aggressiveness of this disease, you need to wake up. It has spread all over the country, and our hospitals are filling up.”

Zweli Mkhize

Minister Mkhize says what was announced last night is culmination of numerous engagements. #Covid19SA. As it stands now, he says, all 52 districts are now hotspots. He says this is indicative of the virus’s seriousness.

— @SAgovnews (@SAgovnews) July 13, 2020


Western Cape

1. City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality
2. West Coast
3. Cape Winelands
4. Overberg
5. Eden
6. Central Karoo

Eastern Cape

7. Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality
8. Cacadu
9. Amatole
10. Chris Hani
11. Ukhahlamba
12. OR Tambo
13. Alfred Nzo

Free State

14. Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality
15. Xhariep
16. Lejweleputswa
17. Thabo Mofutsanyane
18. Fezile Dabi

Northern Cape

19. Namakwa
20. Pixley ka Seme
21. Siyanda
22. Frances Baard
23. John Taola Gaetsewe District Municipality

North West

24. Bojanala Platinum
25. Ngaka Modiri Molema
26. Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati
27. Dr Kenneth Kaunda


28. City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality
29. Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality
30. City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality
31. Sedibeng
32. Metsweding
33. West Rand


34. Mopani
35. Vhembe
36. Capricorn
37. Waterberg
38. Greater Sekhukhune


39. Gert Sibande
40. Nkangala
41. Ehlanzeni


42. eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality
43. Zululand
44. Umkhanyakude
45. uThungulu
46. Umzinyathi
47. Uthukela
48. Umgungundlovu
49. iLembe
50. Amajuba
51. Ugu
52. Sisonke

Source: The South African Read More

Boots The House Down Party Vol.2

What Is It?

Get ready for volume 2 of the biggest LGBTQI+ virtual party South Africa has seen this year!

You will be entertained by some of SA's top DJ's, Entertainers and Drag Artists, as well as special international guest, DJ Kara!


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Los Angeles based, DJ Kara will be supporting local artists and spinning hits at Boots The House Down Party Vol.2 . Support your artists and purchase your tickets and tips now (link in bio) . #bootsthehousedown #drag #dragqueen #queer #queerparty #virtualparty #lgbt #lgbtqia #gay #lesbian #nonbinary #trans #theythem #bootsthehousedownparty #vogue #dragperformer #dragrace #dj #onlineparty #BTHDP

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This event is the first of its kind in South Africa as it will be hosted by and for the artists in the LGBQTI+ community. This will provide the artists with a platform to showcase their talents virtually, and earn money at the same time.

When Is It?

Saturday, 25 July 2020 from 19:00-21:30

Where Is It? 

Online. You can enjoy the virtual party and support your local LGBTQI+ community from anywhere! 



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The Legendary Betty Bangles will be performing the house down at Boots The House Down Party Vol.2 . Support your artists and purchase your tickets and tips now (link in bio) . #bootsthehousedown #drag #dragqueen #queer #queerparty #virtualparty #lgbt #lgbtqia #gay #lesbian #nonbinary #trans #theythem #bootsthehousedownparty #vogue #dragperformer #dragrace #dj #onlineparty #BTHDP

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How Much Is It?

From R23.00 - R230.00. Tickets are available for purchase here.

For More Information

For more information visit the Boots The House Down Party's Facebook page for more details, and make sure to keep up with them on Instagram as well.


Peace Out Bro! The Flower Power Hour Trivia Night

What Is It?

This 5 round quiz is all about the music, fashion, history, movies, and pop culture of the 60's! So put on your tie-dye and get ready to fully immerse yourself throughout the trivia night!

On the day of the event, you will receive a link to the Zoom-Room in your email, please make sure you accept the invite so we know to expect you. The Zoom-Room will open 10 minutes prior to the start of the event in order for you to size up your competition.

What do you need?

Spots are limited so make sure to email to confirm your booking.

When Is It?

Friday, 24 July 2020 from 19:00-20:30

Where Is It? 

Online. You can play from anywhere, so long as you have a PC or a smartphone!

How Much Is It?

The trivia night is FREE to join, but donations are welcome! click to make a donation.

For More Information

For more information visit the event Facebook page for more details.