Stay informed about COVID-19 with DStv

The breakout of the coronavirus (Covid-19) is impacting countries globally. What’s the latest news affecting South Africa? DStv’s news channels have you covered!

On 31 December 2019, a pneumonia of unknown cause was detected in Wuhan, China and reported to the local World Health Organisation (WHO) office. By 30 January 2020, the outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and on 11 February 2020, WHO announced the name for the new coronavirus disease: Covid-19.

As of 10 March 2020, more than 100 countries have reported Covid-19 cases. Over 100,000 confirmed cases have been reported, causing at least 3,100 deaths. In a statement marking this sombre moment, WHO reminded all countries and communities that the spread of the virus can be significantly slowed or even reversed through the implementation of robust containment and control activities.

“Every person has the capacity to contribute, to protect themselves, to protect others, whether in the home, the community, the healthcare system, the workplace or the transport system,” WHO said. “We must stop, contain, control, delay and reduce the impact of this virus at every opportunity.”

Staying informed about the latest news on the virus is the first step in stopping its spread. That’s why news outlets all over the world are dedicating entire news teams, segments and broadcast schedules keeping audiences up to date on every development.

In South Africa, DStv has customers covered with some of the best news coverage available anywhere. With 14 dedicated news channels available across our packages, customers are guaranteed the most pressing news, in real-time.

“As Africa’s most-loved storyteller, we want to look after our customers and ensure that we deliver you the best entertainment at all times,” says Mark Rayner, CEO: Multichoice South Africa. “While we are grateful that we have not yet had a single incident within our organisation, we are working hard to ensure that we keep our employees, suppliers and customers as safe as we can. We are implementing the recommended measures to assess and minimise potential risk of transmission of the Coronavirus in our facilities.”

Adjustments to programming

We are starting to see the effect of the pandemic, with a number of sports and international programming events being impacted. This has affected our programming, particularly live sport.

Many sporting disciplines including football, motorsport, rugby and tennis, have had events either postponed or cancelled by their respective sporting federations. In this instance, as a broadcaster we are subject to their decisions.

As a result, we have plans in place that will keep you well entertained. This includes the best live sport available, as well as celebrating some of the classic sporting moments and documentaries. We will also continue to bring you the very best series, kids entertainment and movies.

Showmax, Box Office and DStv Now will continue to keep you entertained, anytime, anywhere.

Carte Blanche

Carte Blanche, South Africa's leading investigative journalism television series, is producing a variety of made-for-web videos titled Carte Blanche's COVID-19 Q&A.

Herein, Carte Blanche presenter Masa Kekana takes to online meeting rooms to talk first-hand with doctors on the frontlines of COVID-combat. We hear about the highs and the lows these men and women are facing, hear researched updates on the latest breakthroughs and good practices at home, all while gaining trusted advice.

Got burning questions? Coronavirus experts from a number of health disciplines are working 08:00 - 17:00 on a dedicated helpline; empowering us all and laying myths to rest, where they belong.

Which Mask is for Me?
In episode 1,  Dr Shabir Moosa - a family physician and professor in the Wits Department of Family Medicine - explains the differences between the types of masks available, the importance of cloth masks for the public, plus how to wear them responsibly while cleaning them properly. Learn how to make your own cloth mask at home – it’s surprisingly simple! And hear from a doctor on-call on the dedicated helpline, set up just for you.

OCD or necessary hygiene?
Episode 2 delves deep into sanitisation. There’s a reason the word ‘sanity’ is in there. Professor Angela Dramowski, from the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at Stellenbosch University, guides us through keeping our homes and surfaces spick and span, and sheds light on which surfaces and situations to be more pedantic about. Not sure which products to use to clean your home? We have a quick demonstration on how to make your own bleach-based cleaner. Anyone can do it! Our volunteer doctor on the dedicated COVID-call-line talks us through a few of the top questions she receives while taking your calls.

What can I do?
Feeling helpless and cagey? In episode 3, we help untie those lockdown hands with examples of how you too can make a difference – whatever your means and situation. Glimpsing into Gift of the Givers’ selfless work and donations, we learn just how big the need is and how important charitable giving is at this time. Then our helpline doctor shares examples of topics they’re equipped to answer on the helpline – including those emotional sorts that tend to pop up to the surface more when in confined spaces. They’re there to lend and ear.

COVID-19 QnA: Why are we Waiting?
We go straight to the source. In episode 4, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor provides some answers regarding what’s been happening to assist compatriots who are still stranded abroad by the lockdown and are running out of funds, desperate to get back home. Although we’re making headway, some countries seem to be able to assist more readily – so we ask: what’s the holdup? In addition, we delve into just what these souls in limbo, plus the powerless loved ones here at home, might be going through as Zamo Mbele, Clinical Psychologist from the South African Depression and Anxiety Group unpacks some of the emotional turmoil.

COVID-19 QnA: Surviving Lockdown
The signs of the times. In episode 5 we turn to the soothsayers of enterprise and finance in the search for the holy grail of solid economic ground. The government, banks and local donors have introduced a number of measures to assist Small, Medium and Microsized Enterprises (SMMEs) which may offer some vital support. But what has this process been like for SMMEs and individuals alike, when the barriers to entry are very real. A one-size-fits-all approach may not work for everyone, so we glean wisdom from wealth coach, Samke Mhlongo and probe the mind of Development Economist and academic, Phumlani Nkontwana to find out how to forge forward.


BBC World News (DStv 400)

BBC World News is bringing audiences the latest news as it happens from studio teams as well as correspondents on the ground. The 24-hour channel, which is available to all DStv customers, is keeping audiences informed about the COVID-19 pandemic with the following specials:

  • Coronavirus podcast form the BBC World Service: A daily (including weekends) round-up on the spread of the coronavirus, with reports from affected areas, details of the latest medical information and the impact on health, business and travel.
  • Coronavirus Explained: A special broadcast from BBC World News from the past few days, wherein Matthew Amroliwala finds out what Covid-19 is, how it spreads and answers your questions about what action you should take at home, work and when travelling.

CNN (DStv 401)

CNN has launched special podcast dedicated to covering the latest Covid-19 developments. The 24-hour news channel, which is available on all DStv packages, has also created a newsletter to share the latest news as it happens.

Sky News (402)

eNCA (403)

eNCA brings South Africans all the latest breaking news and comprehensive coverage about COVID-19, through dedicated in-studio anchors and panelists as well as highly skilled news teams. The 24-hour news channel has reporters stationed all around the country, bringing viewers up to date with ongoing developments. eNCA’s video wall producer, Michael Marillier, along with the channel’s crack team of anchors, keep viewers informed on the various stages of the virus, through the latest statistics, edgy graphics and hotspots around the country. Together with its creative teams, eNCA has also teamed up with the Department of Health and the World Health Organisation, to keep the public at large in the know. eNCA Newsroom Operations Manager Jody Jacobs says, “As a media organisation we are committed to keeping our audience abreast of COVID-19 developments and fully educated about the virus.”

For additional information on COVID-19, visit the eNCA website.

SABC News (404)

SABC News is another 24-hour news channel, providing round-the-clock live and packaged news and information. The SABC News Channel has deployed crews across the country and correspondents on the continent and key cities across the globe to provide you with up-to-date information on the Lockdown and coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic and other major events.

The channel provides fully integrated digital and multi-media content using mobile journalism, citizen journalism and new media news gathering technologies.


Newzroom Afrika (DStv 405)

Newzroom Afrika, also available on all DStv packages, has been covering the Covid-19 outbreak for several weeks. On Monday, 17 February, for example, the 24-hour news channel showcased a Coronavirus Special Broadcast which spanned an entire day and gave viewers an in-depth look at the virus now known as Covid-19 – raising public awareness and knowing it was only a matter of time before it reached our shores.

Reporters were stationed at key entry points into South Africa – including international airports and harbours. Teams also visited hospitals ear-marked to deal with the virus and spoke to the country’s top virologists and scientists as well as Government officials. Special panoramics, stings, infographics and explainers were created to keep the broadcast as visually stimulating as possible, while also remaining informative.

“This special broadcast served us well when the first case of Coronavirus in South Africa was confirmed, as we had already exposed and alerted our audience to the important themes and issues that SA now faced,” says Katy Katopodis, Newzroom Afrika News Director.

According to Katy, Newzroom Afrika will continue with its rolling coverage of Covid-19, bringing viewers all the latest breaking news and developments as the story unfolds. “Our star team of reporters have been working tirelessly to ensure they cover all the angles to this story,” she says. “We believe in responsible, ethical journalism and our intention is to be informative, provide context and clarity – without causing panic or hysteria.”


Al Jazeera (DStv 406)

Al Jazeera is another 24-hour news channel available on the DStv platform that has been following the Covid-19 virus extensively. Available to all DStv  customers, the news organisation is keeping viewers informed both via television and on the web with immediate updates on the outbreak and informative visuals that are easy to digest.


Don’t have DStv? Watch our 24-hour news channels for free with DStv Now’s free service

In response to the COVID-19 situation, DStv Now has added a new way to get free access (no DStv subscription needed) to the following 24-hour news channels:

  • BBC World
  • CNN
  • eNCA
  • SABC News
  • Newzroom Afrika
  • Euronews
  • Al Jazeera
  • Sky News

DStv Now is the online version of DStv and it’s free to DStv subscribers. Watch on a smartphone, tablet, laptop, computer, smart TV or Xbox. These news channels are available for free to non-DStv subscribers until the end of April, 2020.

The TV channels and Catch Up content on DStv Now mirror the content available on the underlying DStv subscription. In other words, Compact subscribers see Compact channels on DStv Now, Premium subscribers get all channels, etc...

But what many people don’t know is there’s a totally free section to DStv Now available to people who don’t have a DStv subscription at all. This free service has the following channels on top of the news channels mentioned above:

In addition, episodes of some of South Africa’s best-loved soapies are available free, including Igazi, The River, Isibaya, Binnelanders, Suidooster and Die Ware Naarheid.

How to sign up for DStv Now’s free service

  1. Go to and click on Sign Up.
  2. Fill in your details and click Create An Account.
  3. In the next step, you’ll be prompted to provide your ID, smartcard or customer number. If you’re not subscribed to DStv, scroll to the bottom and choose Skip.
  4. Name your profile and set your profile pic, and start watching.
  5. If you’re planning on watching DStv on your phone or tablet, download the DStv Now app for Android or iOS.

Please note that this free service is currently limited to South Africa.

Watch the latest news on your phone

Sign up for DStv Now, a free service for all DStv subscribers. With DStv Now the same channels you watch on your decoder at home are available for you to stream online, or using the DStv Now app on your phone.