Covid-19 was declared a national disaster by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday evening due to the increasing amount of cases in the country, which are currently at 62.
Drastic measures have been put in place to manage the disease, protect the people of the country and reduce the impact of the virus in society and on our economy. A travel ban has been put on foreign nationals from high-risk countries such as Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the US, the UK and China as from March 18 2020. Visas of visitors from the high risk countries and those who were previously granted visas have been revoked.
South African citizens are advised to refrain from all forms of travel to or through the EU, US, UK and other identified high-risk countries such as China, Iran and South Korea. This is effective immediately.
The government will continue to regularly issue travel alerts referring to specific cities, countries or regions as the situation evolves based on the risk level.
Any foreign national who has visited high-risk countries in the past 20 days will be denied a visa.
South African citizens returning from high-risk countries will be subjected to testing and self-isolation or quarantine on return to South Africa.
Travelers from medium-risk countries such as Portugal, Hong Kong and Singapore will be required to undergo high-intensity screening.
All travelers who have entered SA from high-risk countries since mid-February will be required to present themselves for testing. South Africa has 72 ports of entry in the country, which are land, sea- and airports. Of the 53 land ports, 35 have been shut down on Monday, March 16. Two of the eight seaports have been closed for passengers and crew changes.
Schools will be closed from Wednesday March 18 and will remain closed until after the Easter weekend, this left many grade 12 learners who were preparing for their matric dances disappointed. To compensate, the midyear school holidays will be shortened by a week. And all major events have also been postponed until further notice.
While everybody is trying their best to keep clean, sanitizers in retail stores are being sold out within minutes of being packed on the shelves. People are encouraged to regularly and thoroughly clean their hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Maintaining at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing is a good method of prevention. Practicing good respiratory hygiene is also a necessity, this means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze after which disposing the tissue immediately.