Cyril announces national lockdown
Ramaphosa Announces Nationwide Lockdown!
President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced an unprecedented 21-day nationwide lockdown as part of efforts to curb the rapid spread of Coronavirus, following a dramatic rise in cases of the pandemic.
The SA National Defence Force has been deployed to help the SAPS to ensure that the measures that Ramaphosa announced are fully implemented as the spread of the pandemic battered the country’s already ailing economy, with the rand plummeting.
Addressing the nation from the Union buildings, Ramaphosa said no one will be allowed to leave their homes from Thursday until April 16 unless they were part of essential workers like health professionals and police.
The president noted that the number of new cases had risen six-fold, moving from 61 last Sunday to 402 at the time of his address.
“This number will continue to rise,” he said, adding that swift and extraordinary action was needed to prevent human catastrophe of enormous proportions in our country”.
The additional measures were being implemented under the Disaster Management Act.
A lockdown means that from midnight Thursday until midnight Thursday, 16 April, all South Africans will have to stay at home.
Those that are exempted from the lockdown:
– health workers in the public and private sectors
– emergency personnel
– those in security services – such as the police, traffic officers, military medical personnel, soldiers – and other persons necessary for our response to the pandemic.
– those involved in the production, distribution and supply of food and basic goods, essential banking services
-those in the maintenance of power, water and telecommunications services, laboratory services, and the provision of medical and hygiene products.
Ramaphosa said individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except under “strictly controlled” circumstances such as seeking medical care, buying food and medicine, and to collect a social grant.
“The action we are taking now will have lasting economic costs. But we are convinced that the cost of not acting now would be far greater.
The president also warned against panic buying.
Earlier, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that the country had now recorded 402 cases of the global Covid-19 pandemic, which was an increase of 128 from yesterday’s announcement.
Northern Cape reported its first case, while Gauteng remained the epicentre of the virus, with 207 cases, followed by the Western Cape. This means all provinces have now recorded confirmed cases of the epidemic.
This came as neighbouring Zimbabwe reported the first death due to Covid-19.
Last Sunday, Ramaphosa declared a state of national disaster, imposing a raft of drastic measures to curb the spread of the virus. These included travel ban on foreign nationals from high-risk countries such as Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and China. South Africans were also advised to refrain from from all forms of travel through the high-risk countries. Government cancelled visas of visitors of the high-risk countries.
Ramaphosa also noted that travellers from medium-risk countries such as Portugal, Hong Kong and Singapore will be required to undergo high intensity screening. In calling for social distancing, the president also announced that the gatherings of more than 100 people would be prohibited.