Inside Covid-19: Govt plans for SA tourism; new Discovery Vitality benefits unveiled – Ep 91

Written on 09/30/2020
Jackie Cameron

In this episode, Deputy Minister of Tourism Fish Mahlalela speaks to BizNews about government plans to get business and leisure travel moving.

In this episode, we look at the big changes for the tourism sector as lockdown eases. Deputy Minister of Tourism Fish Mahlalela speaks to BizNews about government plans to get business and leisure travel moving. Also coming up, Discovery Vitality Wellness head Dr Mosima Mabunda unveils new benefits for Discovery members that will also help to stimulate business activity in the leisure and hospitality sector – among other big changes. And, we hear from a world expert on steroids, Dr Bryan McVerry, a critical care specialist and associate professor the University of Pittsburgh in the US, on what science is telling us about how to treat the most serious cases of Covid-19. – Jarryd Neves & Jackie Cameron

Inside Covid-19 headlines

  • 16 667 have died and just under 673,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in SA.
  • Nine ZIP codes in New York City account for a quarter of all cases citywide, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, and have pushed up the weekly average of positive coronavirus tests to 1.46%, says Bloomberg.
  • The NFL postponed a game for the first time after nine members of the Tennessee Titans tested positive for Covid-19. A top UK lawmaker blocked a bid by rebels in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s party to curb emergency coronavirus powers as governments across Europe are tightening measures to battle a Covid-19 resurgence, says the news service.
  • The Dutch government urged citizens to wear masks, and the Czech Republic issues a 30-day state of emergency to stem a surge in cases.Spain’s nascent economic recovery is threatened by a second wave of coronavirus infections, the International Monetary Fund said.
  • Spain has the most cases in Europe, and the IMF assessment comes as the country prepares to impose new restrictions in hotspots such as Madrid.
  • Coronavirus super-spreaders were behind the explosion of Covid-19 in India, the country with the most cases after the U.S., researchers said. One in 15 Indians have been exposed and more than 6.2 million cases have been recorded. A group of patients that included about 8% of India’s confirmed cases led to almost two-thirds of its infections, according to researchers who traced more than 3 million contacts in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The report, which appeared in the journal Science, is the first major study of transmission in a developing country.
  • Most research on the pandemic has come from China, Europe and North America, but cases are burgeoning in India and other developing countries. Barriers to health care are greater in these nations, and the risk of getting severely ill and dying from Covid is higher, they said.
  • One in every 1,000 children in New York State lost a parent to Covid-19 between March and July, according to a report released today by United Hospital Fund, based on an analysis conducted in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group.
  • Iran’s authorities are weighing a week-long shutdown of Tehran, the capital, and several other provinces severely affected by the outbreak.
  • Russian Direct Investment Fund and Egyptian Pharco agreed to secure supply of 25 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine for Egypt, the Russian sovereign wealth fund said in a statement.
  • Saudi Arabia’s economy contracted 7% in the second quarter from a year earlier, illustrating the damage wrought by the oil market turmoil combined with the pandemic.
  • Royal Dutch Shell Plc will cut as many as 9,000 jobs as Covid-19 precipitates a company-wide restructuring into low-carbon energy. Job reductions of 7,000 to 9,000 are expected by the end of 2022, including around 1,500 people taking voluntary redundancy this year, Shell said in a statement. The company sees sustainable annual cost savings of $2 billion to $2.5 billion.
  • Britons saved almost a third of their income during the lockdown as the pandemic shuttered stores and sent the economy into a deep slump. The saving ratio soared to an unprecedented 29% in the second quarter, the Office for National Statistics said. The figures confirmed Britain as the worst-performing major advanced economy during the quarter, with gross domestic product shrinking almost 20%.
  • Vaccines alone won’t be enough to fight Covid-19, drugmaker Novartis AG’s CEO Vas Narasimhan said in an interview. Treatments will also play a crucial role. Significant supplies of highly effective vaccines probably won’t be available until the end of next year, according to Narasimhan, who headed development for Novartis’s former vaccines unit before it was sold to GlaxoSmithKline Plc five years ago. Source: Bloomberg
* This podcast is sponsored by Discovery.
Discovery news release

Vitality accelerates its efforts to get people moving with exciting new benefits; also announces special Vitality points recognition initiative

JOHANNESBURG, 30 September 2020 | Discovery Vitality today announced an exciting series of product enhancements that will further motivate and reward members to get healthy by exercising and eating well. 

Key updates include a once-off special Vitality points recognition initiative in response to the impact of lockdown, the expansion of its physical activity offering and new partnership with Nike, the much-awaited reintroduction of travel benefits, and new healthy convenience meal rewards. These are in addition to the enhancements to Discovery Miles, the world’s first shared-value rewards currency, which can now be earned and spent in more ways.  

Recognising 2019 Vitality engagement to help members stay motivated

Lockdown imposed constraints on people’s ability to engage in preventive screenings and physical activity as fully as they normally would. To support and motivate its members, Vitality today announced a once-off special Vitality points recognition initiative that would give members credit for screening and physical activity they did in 2019, to top up their 2020 Vitality points where applicable.

Discovery Vitality CEO Dinesh Govender explains: “We understand that the restrictions associated with lockdown have reduced physical activity and have constrained members’ ability to access screening services. Our ability to support our members in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle is more relevant than ever in the context of COVID-19, backed by research showing that engaging in Vitality reduces COVID-19 mortality risk by 37%. It is therefore critical that we have the flexibility in our approach to keep members motivated this year. These updates and new features reflect Vitality’s commitment to continuous innovation to give consumers excellent reasons to get and stay healthy.

A special Vitality points allocation is in place to support those who were unable to participate in healthy behaviours as they would have done this year. It will work as follows:

  • Members will be awarded the higher of their 2019 and 2020 Vitality Health Check and Vitality Fitness Assessment Vitality points. If they have not yet completed one of these assessments this year and are not comfortable to complete one before the end of the year, they will be awarded the same Vitality points that they earned last year. Of course, members still have time during the rest of the year to complete these assessments, should their circumstances allow.
  • Points for additional screenings, such as completing a Pap smear or colonoscopy, and visiting the dentist will be awarded for 2020 if members completed these screenings last year. Points will also be awarded for a 2019 flu vaccination, as it was in short supply this year.
  • For physical activity, members will be awarded the higher of the physical activity points earned over the period January to September 2019 or January to September 2020. They can continue earning Vitality points by getting active until the end of 2020 – through a variety of online workouts, virtual events, safely attending their gym, and many more options. 

Based on these criteria, the additional Vitality points will be automatically allocated by the end of October 2020 – no action is required from members.

More ways to get active, and a partnership with Nike

In addition to its unrivalled gym benefits at Virgin Active and Planet Fitness, in 2021 Vitality members will be able to earn Vitality points and spend Discovery Miles at over 300 additional physical and digital fitness facilities. This expansion is in response to members expressing interest in a variety of exercise formats, as we well as the growth in digital fitness and home workouts.

To ensure that members are well-equipped for their workouts, Vitality is redesigning its sport gear and fitness devices benefit to provide upfront discounts of up to 75% at the point of sale.  

Vitality has also partnered with Nike to make sport a daily habit.  The partnership between Vitality and Nike means that in 2021, Vitality members will unlock Vitality rewards that they can access at Nike Concept Stores. 

Vitality members can travel again, with great discounts and additional access benefits

With much anticipation, Vitality’s much-missed travel platform reopens this week for holiday accommodation and car hire bookings. International flight bookings will follow soon thereafter, and we expect kulula.com and British Airways domestic flight bookings to open in late October. When domestic flight bookings open, Vitality members will be rewarded with upfront discounts of up to 75%, as well as 72 hours’ early access for flight bookings.  

Discovery Bank clients will enjoy their maximum discounts on domestic flights until the end of November, based on their product type and Vitality Money status.  Together with Priority Lane access at OR Tambo domestic departures for Discovery Bank Black and Purple cardholders, travel will be more rewarding than ever before.  

Rewarding members for choosing healthier convenience meals

Vitality is enhancing its nutrition benefits beyond rewards on HealthyFood at Woolworths and Pick n Pay, and HealthyDining options via Uber Eats and at a range of partner restaurants. The programme is adapting to support members in accessing healthy ready-made meals to suit their busy lifestyles.  In 2021, HealthyDining rewards will also include 25% back on healthier convenience frozen meals and meal kits from Frozen for You, UCOOK, We Are Food and Daily Dish.  

About Discovery

Discovery Limited is a South African-founded financial services organisation that operates in the healthcare, life assurance, short-term insurance, savings and investment and wellness markets. Since inception in 1992, Discovery has been guided by a clear core purpose – to make people healthier and to enhance and protect their lives. This has manifested in its globally recognised Vitality Shared-Value insurance model, active in 24 markets with over 20 million members. The model is exported and scaled through the Global Vitality Network, an alliance of some of the largest insurers across key markets including AIA (Asia), Ping An (China), Generali (Europe), Sumitomo (Japan), John Hancock (US), Manulife (Canada) and Vitality Life & Health (UK, wholly owned). Discovery trades on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange as DSY. Follow us on Twitter @Discovery_SA

About Vitality

Vitality is the largest platform for behaviour change globally, underpinning the insurance products of 14 leading global insurers, with more than 20 million members in 24 countries. It is a leading behaviour-change programme that underpins insurance and financial services, creating shared value by combining behavioural economics and clinical science to encourage and reward members for exercising more, eating healthier, managing stress, looking after and improving their health.