South Africans call for lockdown amid Covid-19 outbreak

President Cyril Ramaphosa.

With only 17 confirmed cases of coronavirus, Rwanda has announced strict measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus for the next two weeks.

South Africans have taken to social media to call for a total lockdown of the country to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

As of Saturday, South Africa had 240 confirmed cases of Covid-19, an increase of 38 from Friday’s announcement, said Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.

The Eastern Cape recorded its first confirmed case with a 28-year-old female patient who had travelled to Germany.

“When you deal with epidemics, you need to understand that the virus can affect many people. It can even go up to 60%. It doesn’t mean that those people are going to die or get it at the same time. It doesn’t mean that we have an apocalypse. The virus is going to be with us for quite a while, it will be one of those viruses that our bodies will have to build new immunities to face,” said Mkhize on the expected spread of the virus.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa: The very existence of the nation is being tested

President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Sunday hold engagements around the national state of disaster, beginning with a consultation with business leaders at the Union Buildings.

“The engagement with business forms part of a series of meetings the President has held with various stakeholder constituencies – including communities of faith and the nation’s political leadership – in the week since his declaration on 15 March 2020 of the national state of disaster.

“Ramaphosa will also chair a meeting of the National Command Council which will receive an update on the Covid-19 outbreak; progress and challenges related to implementation of the recently promulgated regulations on the state of disaster and other measures to protect the country, as well as economic impact,” said the Presidency in a statement.

The council will consider whether the measures that are currently in place to contain the spread of the virus are sufficient and what further measures are required.

The president will then address the nation on a date to be decided by the council.

The president has banned public gatherings of more than 100 people, with all international flights having being cancelled.

Normal working hours for restaurants still apply, though the selling of alcohol after 6pm has been banned.

Pubs and shebeens must close at 6pm on weekdays and 1pm on weekends, and not have more than 50 customers at a time.

While an official travel ban between cities has not been implemented, Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba advised Limpopo residents who are based in Gauteng to reconsider their decision to travel home this Easter.

Read more: Ramathuba advises Limpopo residents based in Gauteng against going home

But concerned South Africans say the existing measures are not enough and have pleaded with the president to follow in Rwanda’s footsteps and lock down the country.

The hashtag #lockDownSouthAfrica has been trending on Sunday.

With only 17 confirmed cases of coronavirus, Rwanda announced strict measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus for the next two weeks.

The measures include:

  • Unnecessary movements and visits outside the home are not permitted, except for services such as healthcare, food shopping  or banking.
  • All employees (public and private) shall work from home except for those providing essential services.
  • Borders are closed, except for goods and cargo and returning citizens.
  • Travel between different cities and districts of the country is not permitted.
  • Shops and markets are closed, except those selling food, medicine, hygiene and cleaning products and fuel.
  • Vehicles are not permitted to carry passengers, with public transport within cities only permitted to operate for essential movements.
  • All bars are closed and restaurants are only permitted to provide take-away services.

(Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde)

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