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Coronavirus Update: South Africa announces 21 Day national lockdown

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President Cyril Ramaphosa

Coronavirus Update: South Africa announces 21 Day national lockdown. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 21-day national lockdown to start from midnight on March 26 in a bid to slow an outbreak of the coronavirus.

Pharmacies, banks, petrol stations and grocers will remain open, he said in a nationally televised address. The army will be deployed to assist in implementing the measures, he said.

 

Key Points:

  • From midnight on Thursday 26 March until midnight on Thursday 16 April, 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. A full list of essential personnel will be published.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 and for patients who need to be managed elsewhere.

This nationwide lockdown will be accompanied by a public health management program which will significantly increase screening, testing, contact tracing, and medical management. Community health teams will focus on expanding screening and testing where people live, focusing first on high density and high-risk areas.

To ensure that hospitals are not overwhelmed, a system will be put in place for ‘centralized patient management’ for severe cases and ‘decentralized primary care’ for mild cases. Emergency water supplies – using water storage tanks, water tankers, boreholes, and communal standpipes – are being provided to informal settlements and rural areas.

A number of additional measures will be implemented with immediate effect to strengthen prevention measures. Some of those measures are that:

  • South African citizens and residents arriving from high-risk countries will automatically be placed under quarantine for 14 days.
  • Non-South Africans arriving on flights from high-risk countries we prohibited a week ago will be turned back.
  • International flights to Lanseria Airport will be temporarily suspended.
  • International travelers who arrived in South Africa after 9 March 2020 from high-risk countries will be confined to their hotels until they have completed a 14-day period of quarantine.

Source – iHarare

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