402 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa

Clay Curtis
March 23, 2020

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that a countrywide lockdown will come into effect on Thursday.

He said it is essential that every person in SA should adhere strictly to the regulations already in place; and that analysis shows URGENT and dramatic action is required over the next few days. Sites are also being identified for quarantine and self-isolation for people who can not self-isolate at home.

All shops and business will be closed except for pharmacies, essential banking, the JSE, supermarkets, petrol stations, health care providers and some others.

"Provision will be made for essential transport services to continue, including transport for essential staff & for patients who need to be managed elsewhere". The army will help the police enforce the lockdown. A key objective will be not to overwhelm hospitals with unnecessary care seekers.

Emergency water supplies will be provided to informal settlements and rural areas.

South African citizens eagerly awaited the presidential address on Sunday evening but this was postponed and is expected to start at 7.30pm this evening.

Non-South Africans arriving on flights from high-risk countries we prohibited a week ago will be turned back.

"This is a decisive measure to save millions of South Africans from infection and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people", he said.

US President Trump tests negative for coronavirus
On Wednesday night, Trump announced that the United States would temporarily suspend most travel from the European Union. On Saturday, he tweeted he was attending meetings on the coronavirus pandemic at the White House.

Soldiers will be deployed on the streets to support the police, and global travellers who arrived in South Africa after March 9 from "high-risk" countries will be confined to their hotels until they have completed a 14-day period of quarantine.

Ramaphosa said firms that are able to continue their operations remotely should do so.

He announced certain quick and targeted interventions to "cushion society from these economic difficulties", and said further measures will be deployed as needed.

"Companies whose operations require continuous processes such as furnaces, underground mine operations will be required to make arrangements for care and maintenance to avoid damage to their continuous operations", said Ramaphosa.

South Africa has overtaken Egypt to become the African country with the highest number of cases.

Special dispensations for companies in distress because of COVID-19 will be put in place.

"We call on large business in particular to take care of their employees", said Ramaphosa. For we are a nation of one and we are surely going to prevail... One sub-unit is to be posted to each of South Africa's remaining eight provinces, according to the order dated March 22 and signed by Brigadier-General Bayanda Mkula.

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