South Africa to go into 21 Day Lockdown from Thursday

It has been announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa that from Thursday at midnight South Africa will enter into a 3-week lockdown to combat the spread of Covid-19. There will be severe restrictions on travel and movement which will be supported by the South African National Defence Force. 

Ramaphosa said that more needs to be done and staying home and avoiding social engagements and contact with others has shown to be the most effective way to avoid the spread of the virus. He went on to say that without decisive action the number of cases will increase and in a population like South Africa this is extremely dangerous. 

The number of infected people will rapidly increase from a few hundred to tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands in just a few weeks. 

The main measure that is to be put in place is a three-week lockdown that will take effect from Thursday 26thMarch at midnight to Thursday 16thApril. This means that:

  1. All South Africans will have to stay at home
  2. Those exempted are emergency personnel, health workers in both the public and private sectors, security services like soldiers and police, those that are part of the production and supply of basic goods and food and those who work in essential services. 
  3. South Africans will only be able to leave their homes in order to visit the pharmacy, buy food, seek medical care or to collect a social grant. 
  4. Shelters will be identified for homeless people. Quarantine areas will also be determined for those that cannot self isolate at home. 
  5. All business will close. Those to remain open include food stores, petrol stations, medical facilities, laboratories and pharmacies. 
  6. Essential transport services will continue.

Further details and plans will be published in due course. 

Those that are exempted from the lockdown are emergency personnel, health workers in both private and public sectors, those in security services like police, soldiers, traffic officers, military medical personnel and others that are needed in response to the pandemic. Also exempted are those that are involved in the production, distribution and supply of basic goods and food, essential banking services, telecommunications services, maintenance of power and water, laboratory services and the provision of hygiene and medical products. 

All shops and businesses will be closed apart from banks, pharmacies, laboratories, essential financial and payment services, which includes JSE, supermarkets, health care providers and petrol stations. 

The SANDF has been deployed to support government in the plan and screening and testing is to be ramped up to identify high risk areas. 

Other countries have taken similar measures including European countries when the spread has occurred at an exceptional rate, which has strained medical supplies and facilities. 

Support

The government has put measures in place to assist local businesses that will be negatively affected by the restrictions during the lockdown. 

Money will be spent to keep business alive as well as to save lives. Ramaphosa also noted that the Rupert and Oppenheimer families have each donated R1 billion to the cause. Ramaphosa has also called on large businesses to take care of their employees. 

The tourism sector has been hit hard due to the travel restrictions and R200 million will be made available to small and medium businesses in this sector. 

You can read the speech by Ramaphosa below:

https://www.gov.za/speeches/president-cyril-ramaphosa-escalation-measures-combat-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-23-mar

Article Source: https://businesstech.co.za/news/government/383927/ramaphosa-announces-21-day-coronavirus-lockdown-for-south-africa/