This evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a drastic new measure to combat the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in South Africa. A 21-day lockdown with severe restrictions on travel and movement, supported by the South African National Defence Force.
The president announced that new measures would now be put in place to urgently and drastically escalate the response. The main measure is a 21-day lockdown taking effect from midnight on Thursday, 26 March to Thursday 16 April.
All South Africans will have to stay at home.
- Exempted: health workers in public and private health sectors; emergency personnel; security services such as police and soldiers; those involved in the production and supply of food and basic goods; those working in essential services.
- People will only be able to leave their homes to buy food, visit the pharmacy, or seek medical care; or to collect a social grant.
- Shelters for homeless people will be identified, as well as quarantine areas for those who cannot self-isolate at home.
- All businesses will close – only medical facilities pharmacies, laboratories, petrol stations and food stores will remain open;
- Essential transport services will also continue.
- Specific plans on exemptions and services that will remain open are to be be published in due course, the president said.