With the number of COVID-19 cases increasing to 402 cases in South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a nationwide lockdown as of Thursday, March 25, for 21 days.
Addressing the nation on Monday evening, March 23, President Ramaphosa said the response of South Africans to this crisis has been remarkable.
“Most South Africans have accepted restrictions that have been placed on their lives and have taken responsibility for changing their behaviour. I am heartened that every sector of society has been mobilised and has accepted the role that it needs to play.”
Furthermore, Ramaphosa said that on behalf of the nation, he would like to thank the health workers, our doctors, nurses and paramedics who are on the frontline of the pandemic, as well as teachers, border officials, police and traffic officers and others who have been leading our country’s response.
Due to the development of COVID-19 in other countries and from the increase of cases in South Africa, Ramaphosa emphasises that immediate, swift and extraordinary action is required.
This is to ensure we as South Africans are able to prevent a human catastrophe of enormous proportions in our country.
In order to contain the spread of the disease and protect South Africans, the National Coronavirus Command Council has decided to enforce a nation-wide lockdown for 21-days from midnight on Thursday, March 26.
The nation-wide lockdown will be enacted in terms of the Disaster Management Act and will entail the following:
- From midnight on Thursday, March 26, until midnight on Thursday, April 16, all South Africans will have to stay at home.
- The categories of people who will be exempted from this lockdown are the following: 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.
It 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.
- Individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except under strictly controlled circumstances, such as to seek medical care, buy food, medicine and other supplies or collect a social grant.
- Temporary shelters that meet the necessary hygiene standards will be identified for homeless people. Sites are also being identified for quarantine and self-isolation for people who cannot self-isolate at home.
- All shops and businesses will be closed, except for pharmacies, laboratories, banks, essential financial and payment services, including the JSE, supermarkets, petrol stations and health care providers.
Ramaphosa has also directed the South African National Defence Force be deployed to support the South African Police Service, in ensuring that the measures are implemented.
“In the days, weeks and months ahead our resolve, our resourcefulness and our unity as a nation will be tested as never before. I call on all of us, one and all, to play our part. To be courageous, to be patient, and above all, to show compassion. Let us never despair. For we are a nation at one, and we will surely prevail,” Ramaphosa concludes.
What are your thoughts on the 21-day lockdown? Do you feel the decision was justified? Or do you feel our leaders should have waited to see what happens?
Share your views and thoughts with us in the comment section below.