South Africa will close 32 of its 72 ports of entry to minimise the continued spread of Covid-19 and is banning travellers from countries with high infection rates.
The country shares land borders with Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini and Zimbabwe, and totally surrounds Lesotho.
In his State of the Nation Address last night, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa did not name the border posts to be closed and it was not clear if the busy Beitbridge Border Post, the only one with Zimbabwe, is one of them. Zimbabwe has air links with South Africa through Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, but has no confirmed cases of Covid-19.
The President said the responsible ministers will give a full outline of the action plan this morning.
As of end of day yesterday, South Africa had recorded 61 COVID-19 positive cases.
President Ramaphosa said schools will close on Wednesday until the end of Easter weekend and that visits to prisons had been suspended as part of the drastic measures adopted by Cabinet.
He said after consulting widely, South Africa had im posed a travel ban on those coming from Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and China as from Wednesday.
“Given the scale and the speed at which the virus is spreading, it is now clear that no country is immune from the disease or will be spared its severe impact,” said President Ramaphosa.
“As of now, South Africa has 61 confirmed cases of people infected with the virus and this number is expected to rise in the coming days and weeks.
“Initially, it was people who had travelled out of the country, especially from Italy, who had positively tested for the virus.
“We are now dealing with the internal transmission of the virus. This situation calls for an extraordinary response; there can be no half-measures.”