To contain the menacing spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the South African Government has announced that the nation will be going into total lockdown from Thursday, March 26.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the lockdown after coronavirus cases in the country increased from 274 to 402 on Monday, March 23.
In an address to the country, Ramaphosa said the stay-at-home order which will be effective till April 16 does not apply to essential services personnel, including police, health care workers and those involved in the supply of goods, including food.
“We need to urgently and dramatically escalate our response.
“The next few days are crucial. Without decisive action, the number of people infected will rapidly increase.
“This is extremely dangerous for a population like ours, which has a large number of people with suppressed immunity because of HIV and TB, and high levels of poverty and malnutrition.”
The announcement will likely take a devastating toll on the SA economy which is presently in recession – its second in two years.
South Africa becomes only the third country in Africa to close down all but essential economic activity, after Tunisia and Rwanda.
While no coronavirus death has been recorded in the country, majority of people infected are travellers from Europe and other counties in the northern hemisphere.