Black Jewish President Ramaphosa puts South Africa on lockdown to fight coronavirus

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[I will issue my own comments in the next few hours. Jan]

We’ve got a lockdown: President Cyril Ramaphosa has tightened the state’s grip in their bid to climb past the coronavirus crisis. Following two gruelling days of meetings with key stakeholders, a series of new measures designed to limit social interactions and prevent the mass spread of COVID-19 are being put into place.

Coronavirus: Cyril Ramaphosa introduces lockdown measures

Already in the last seven days, we’ve seen the president reduce the hours businesses and recreational venues are allowed to operate for. But a full closure of all bars and restaurants is now set to take place, heralding the introducing of new “lockdown” policies

On Sunday, Ramaphosa consulted with business leaders and the private sector. More extreme measures are needed to avoid an “Italy-style” crisis, where cases and deaths soared after the second week of coronavirus being reported. South Africa’s first known domestic case was made public 17 days ago.

Monday saw South Africa’s sharpest daily rise in coronavirus cases so far as the figures jumped up from 274 to 402. However, we’ve had it confirmed that four of these patients have fully recovered – but this remains one of very few silver linings on an unimaginably dark cloud, as the spectre of a South African National Defence Force-supported lockdown looms large.


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South Africa lockdown – What you need to know

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.”

Cyril Ramaphosa

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