National lockdown extended by two weeks

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Thursday evening the lockdown will remain in place until 30 April 2020.

The national lockdown will be extended by two weeks, from midnight on 16 April 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Thursday evening.

“This evening I ask you to ask you to endure even longer. I have to ask you to make even greater sacrifices. After careful consideration of the available evidence, the lockdown will be extended by a further two weeks beyond the initial 21 days.”

“We will use this time to wrap up our public health interventions. We did not take this decision lightly. As your president, I am mindful of the heavy burden this will have on our economy. But I know as you do that unless we take these measures now and hold this course, the pandemic will engulf and consume our country.

“As government together with our many partners we have intensified our public health strategy. Our approach is to screen people and isolate those who are infected and care for those who are ill in our health facilities. We have used the last week to develop our screening methodology.”

“Those who cannot self isolate at home will do so at special facilities. We will at all times observe the human rights of all people.”

“Our Covid-19 centre is already identifying hotspots and the spread of the disease. We are working to locate those who have tested positive and those with whom they’ve been in contact.”

“The unemployed insurance fund has set aside R40 billion to assist those who cannot work. To date, R356 million has been paid out. I would like to applaud all employers who have continued to pay their employees.”

The president addressed the nation on day 14 of the national lockdown to share the government’s continued efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the country. The address follows a meeting of the National Coronavirus Command Council held on 8 April 2020 and consultations the president held with various social partners.

Ramaphosa said over the next two weeks, the government will roll out the screening program across all provinces.

“Those who cannot self isolate at home will do so at special facilities. We will at all times observe the human rights of all people.”

Ramaphosa has called on all businesses to continue to pay their suppliers so they can continue to operate.”

“We must do all we can to ensure the underlying economy continues to function.”

“Government has prioritised R1.2 billion to provide relief to smaller farmers and contribute to food supply,” he said.

“One of the biggest challenges all countries are facing is the shortage of medical supplies. As a country we have had to rely on our own capabilities but also had to source from other countries. We have seen a massive mobilisation by businesses and private sectors to build stocks for equipment to fight the virus,” Ramaphosa said.

“We have been working to provide basic needs such as water and food to the poorest South Africans. We have provided spaza shops with financial help. Over 11 000 water storage tanks have been delivered to communities across the country.

“All of these efforts will not be sufficient on their own to cushion the poor from the pandemic.”

Ramaphosa added that additional extraordinary measures will need to be put in place in the coming weeks and months.

“We are in a situation that demands exceptional methods. Cabinet will be developing a comprehensive package of economic measures to respond to the severe economic challenges we must confront in the months ahead.”

“An essential part of our response is the principle of solidarity. In support of this effort, we have decided that the President, Deputy President, Ministers and Deputy Ministers will each take a one-third pay cut which will be donated to the solidarity fund.”

Ramaphosa said premiers will also take a one-third pay-cut to donate to the solidarity fund.

“As we confront this disease we are part of a global effort that is bringing humanity together. For us, in South Africa, the coronavirus pandemic has changed everything. We can no longer work in the same way we did before.”

“We will need to adapt to a new reality. As we emerge from this crisis our country will need to undergo a process of fundamental change. We will draw on our strengths, our proven capabilities and the depth of talent amongst our own people.”

He said a uniquely South African response will be crafted.

“I ask that you keep in your thoughts tonight those who are vulnerable and those who are alone. I ask that you give what you can to alleviate their burden. This is a difficult time for all of us. We carry the message of Easter in our hearts. As we struggle to defeat this pandemic we remain strong and united as South Africans.”

“Our struggle requires fundamental changes in the behaviour of all of us. The same rules remain. Physical contact allows the virus to be spread and must be avoided. We must continue to wash our hands. To stay safe we must respect all restrictions placed on our movement and on our daily lives,” Ramaphosa said.

As of Thursday evening, there were 1934 positive confirmed cases.

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