South Africa will be been placed under a nationwide lockdown for 21 days from Thursday as the country’s coronavirus cases surge.
Coronavirus cases in South Africa have hit 402, the highest in sub-Saharan Africa with an increase of 128 within 24 hours.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a speech on Monday evening that the lockdown will help prevent the spread of the virus.
“Everyone must do everything within their means to avoid contact with other people… Staying home is the preferred best defence against this virus,” he said.
The President said individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except under strict circumstances from after midnight on Thursday.
He said “Emergency water supplies are being provided to informal settlements and rural areas.”
The president noted that there will be interventions to cushion society from economic difficulties.
There will be a Solidarity Fun, which local businesses, members of the community can donate to, according to the president.
President #Ramaphosa: As a consequence, the National Coronavirus Command Council has decided to enforce a nation-wide lockdown for 21 DAYS with effect from midnight on Thursday 26 March.
#COVID19 #CoronaVirusSA pic.twitter.com/spxfeqwBWp
— Presidency | South Africa ?? (@PresidencyZA) March 23, 2020
Those that would be exempted from this lockdown are “health workers in the public and private sectors, emergency personnel, those in security services such as the police, traffic officers, military medical personnel, soldiers – and other persons necessary for our response to the pandemic.”
The president added that the exemption from the lockdown “will also include those involved in the production, distribution and supply of food and basic goods, essential banking services, the maintenance of power, water, and telecommunications services, laboratory services, and the provision of medical and hygiene products.”