Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended the lockdown period by two weeks as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases increased to 1934 on Thursday.
The president applauded the efforts of health workers in the country and thanked South Africans for complying with the stringent regulations of the lockdown. He said that early indications were that the decision to place the country under lockdown has helped to slow the spread of the virus.
“We are determined to pursue a path that both saves lives and protects livelihoods,” the president said as he stressed that the decion to extend the lockdown was not taken lightly.
Ramaphosa announced the latest figures during an address to the nation on Day 14 of a 21-day lockdown which was implemented to curb the spread of Covid-19 which was first detected in March.
Patient Zero was confirmed as a man in his 30s from Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal. He had been on a skiing trip with friends to Italy.
In just over a month, the virus has spread around the country, affecting over 1800 people.
Around the world, more than 1.5 million people have been infected with over 90 000 deaths as of Thursday. More than 340 000 have recovered from the virus around the globe.
Earlier on Thursday, Ramaphosa visited the Covid-19 Information Centre at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria, where he expressed satisfaction at how the country was dealing with the spread of the virus.
The president said he was impressed by the technology on offer at the centre. He said the hub enabled the government to look at the entire country and see how it could get data and information about the incidents of infection.
He also thanked telecommunications giant Vodacom for donating 20 000 smartphones to health field workers who were responsible for tracking, tracing, screening and testing people across the nine provinces.
“This is the assistance that we are appreciative of and also I would also like the leadership of the CSIR. They are stepping up in our effort to fight against coronavirus and they are doing it in the most scientific way and I think as a nation we should be proud that we have an institution like the CSIR which is always trying to be ahead of the curve in terms of bringing solution for the nation to utilise,” Ramaphosa said.