President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a 21-day national lockdown to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus Covid-19. This means every person in south Africa must remain at home except for workers in specific categories of essential services, and trips for medical supplies, groceries and fuel. The lockdown starts at midnight on Thursday 26 March and ends at midnight on Thursday 16 April.
With 340 000 confirmed cases across the world and confirmed cases in South Africa jumping from 61 to 402 in eight days, the drastic measure was to contain the spread of Covid-19, the President said in an announcement on national television tonight.
“It is clear from the development of the disease in other countries and from our own modelling that immediate, swift and extraordinary action is required if we are to prevent a human catastrophe of enormous proportions in our country,” the President said.
“I am concerned that a rapid rise in infections will stretch our health services beyond what we can manage and many people will not be able to access the care they need,.”
The drastic measures, the President said, were to do everything within our means to reduce the overall number of infections and to delay the spread of infection over a longer period – “what is known as flattening the curve of infections”.
It was essential that every person in South Africa adhered srtictly and without exception to the regulations in place and to the new measures the President announced on Monday evening.
“Our analysis of the progress of the epidemice informs us that we need to urgently and dramatically escalate our repsonse,” Ramaphosa said. “The next few days are crucial.”
Here is the President’s full speech that includes the new Covid-19 measures:
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