In a bid to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus disease in the country, South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a 21-day total lockdown measure.
Ramaphosa explained that such measures had become necessary due to the jump in coronavirus cases in the last week, as it had spiked from 128 to 402.
While addressing the country, Ramaphosa said South Africa needed to escalate its response dramatically to curb the spread of infection.
“From midnight on Thursday 26 March until midnight on Thursday 16 April, all South Africans will have to stay at home,” Ramaphosa said.
However, he made known that during the lockdown, people could still go out to seek medical care, buy food or collect a social grant.
“While this measure will have a considerable impact on people’s livelihoods, on the life of our society and on our economy, the human cost of delaying this action would be far, far greater.” He added.
More details: While briefing the public, the South African President said health workers, emergency personnel and security services would be among those exempted from the lockdown. He made it clear that all shops and businesses will be closed except for pharmacies, laboratories, banks, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, supermarkets, petrol stations and healthcare providers.
Speaking further, Ramaphosa said from now on, soldiers would be deployed to support the police, and international travellers, who arrived in South Africa after March 9 from high-risk countries, would be confined to their hotels until they have completed a 14-day period of quarantine.
What you should know: Although South Africa declared a national disaster last week, closed schools, imposed travel bans and called for social distancing, nevertheless, the measures were not enough to curb the spread of the disease in the country. This is why the President decided to put this latest lockdown measure in place.
So far, South Africa has the most confirmed cases of coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa. If the pandemic isn’t stemmed as soon as possible, public experts believe it would overwhelm the country’s health system.
Meanwhile, Nigeria recently shut its land borders as the total confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 40 with 1 dead and 2 discharged.