SOUTH African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a countrywide lockdown will come into effect on Thursday.
The 21-day lockdown is the latest government intervention to try and control the spread of the coronavirus.
On Monday, the Department of Health confirmed that the number of confirmed cases of the virus had increased to 402 from 274 cases on Sunday.
The highest cases have been recorded in Gauteng – 207 infections, the Western Cape – 100, and in KwaZulu Natal – 60.
The three provinces account for more than 91% of recorded confirmed cases in South Africa.
Ramaphosa said the lockdown was binding on all South Africans, with only healthcare workers, emergency personnel, security services, military medical personnel, soldiers and those who work with the production, distribution of food and basic goods, banking services, water, lab services, being exempt from the lockdown.
Meanwhile, there have also been pockets of cases being confirmed in other provinces including the Free State – 13, Mpumalanga – 9, North West – 4, Limpopo – 4, Eastern Cape – 2, and the Northern Cape – 2.
Last Sunday, when Ramaphosa last addressed the nation, he declared a state of national disaster in response to the surging numbers.
This decision led to several regulations being implemented by the government to control public gatherings.
Here’s what President Ramaphosa has introduced this evening:
- Individuals will only be allowed to leave the house to buy food, medical supplies or collect a social grant;
- Provisions will be made for the homeless, and we continue to identify quarantine sites for these people;
- Only pharmacies, banks, laboratories, payment services (petrol services and healthcare providers) will remain open;
- Those businesses responsible for the production and sale of food will remain open too; and
- All South Africans must remain in their homes for 21 days, starting from Thursday 26 March.
Ramaphosa explains his move
“Without decisive action, hundreds of thousands of people could catch the disease. We have a large number of people with immune system illnesses, and millions who live in poverty. Therefore, we have decided to enforce a 21-day lockdown from Thursday 26 March to Thursday 16th April – this will have an impact on our livelihoods.
“Exemptions from working include health workers, emergency personnel, security services, soldiers and those involved with food production and supply. Banking services, those in power and water, and lab workers are also exempt. We will publish this full list in due course.”