President Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a 21-day national lockdown on Monday evening as part of stricter measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The lockdown from midnight 26th of March to midnight 16th of April will mean a “stay-at-home” for everyone in the county, except for essential personnel such as doctors, nurses and police.

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.

“Those employed in jobs and services that are deemed to be essential to safeguard citizens and their well-being will continue working during the national lockdown.’

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. A full list of essential personnel will be published.

“Every person in SA should adhere strictly to the regulations we have in place and those I am announcing.

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.

“Companies that are essential to the production and transportation of food, basic goods and medical supplies will remain open. We will publish a full list of the categories of businesses that should remain open.

“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.

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

“Provision will be made for essential transport services to continue, including transport for essential staff & for patients who need to be managed elsewhere.

He added that essential businesses and services will continue to operate to ensure South Africans have access to the necessities of life.

“Our fundamental task is to contain the spread of the disease. We must therefore do everything to reduce the overall number of infections.

“Individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except under strictly controlled circumstances,” he said.

Ramaphosa said 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.

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

People 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.

He said some roads would be closed with only main roads remaining open, to control movement during the lockdown.

Ramaphosa said the Sandf will be deployed to assist the SAPS to ensure that all the lockdown is adhered to.

“Observing the national lockdown is essential for the health and safety of all South Africans, particularly those who are most vulnerable. Those found guilty of violating the lockdown rules will face harsh penalties.”

“Due to disruptions in supply and distribution of goods, medical and other supplies will be secured and stored in bulk,” Ramaphosa said.

Furthermore, Ramaphosa said during this period there will be house-to-house screenings and testing in small areas with more than 300 households to identify as many Covid-19 cases as possible.

“Coronavirus epidemic can grow very rapidly and quickly overwhelm health care services leading to a large number of avoidable deaths,” he said.

This after Ramaphosa and the national command council met on Sunday and Monday.

On Monday, the total number of confirmed cases in SA jumped to 402, only three weeks after the first case in the country was announced.

Ramaphosa cited the success of similar lockdowns in Singapore and South Korea for implementing the lockdown.

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