We have been teasing the inevitable with credible information and after addressing the nation, Ramaphosa confirmed that in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), South Africa will go into lockdown.
Ramaphosa puts South Africa in lockdown: Here are the details
Ramaphosa indicated that as of Thursday 26 March, South Africa will go into lockdown, restricting the non-essential movement of people until Thursday 16 April.
The lockdown will continue for a period of 21 days. During this time, people will be forced to stay indoors and only be outside for the following reasons:
- Going to the grocery store;
- visiting the pharmacy or a medical centre; or
- collecting social grants.
Outside of these reasons, being outside will be deemed as a criminal offence, punishable by a fine or, under serious circumstances, imprisonment.
These sectors will remain operational as they are deemed to be essential for our society’s survival:
- Health workers;
- Emergency personnel;
- Law enforcement officials;
- Military officers;
- Workers in production, distribution of food and basic goods;
- Basic services personnel (electricity, water supply etc.);
- Provision of hygiene products; and
- Other persons in essential services.
These are the other measures that will be implemented by the government:
- Heightened screening will take place on a daily basis;
- The first phase of economic response:
- Supporting the vulnerable. A solidarity fund (chaired by Gloria Serobe) to combat the spread of the virus;
- Regulations in place to prohibit high prices of essential goods;
- Safety net developed to support informal sector. More details to be announced;
- Old age and social grants available from 30 March and 1 April;
- Support for affected workers. Special dispensation for distressed companies to support employees through Temporary Relief Schemes (Ters);
- Most banks expected to announce economic relief measures soon;
- UIF will be used as a reserve option to fund struggling businesses;
- Tax subsidy of up to R500 for the next four months for private-sector employees earning from R6 500 and below;
- Employment tax reimbursements will be fast-tracked;
- No penalties for businesses turning in less than R50 million in provisional tax and PAYE responsibilities;
- DTI set aside R3-billion for industries at the centre of fighting coronavirus;
- Department of Tourism to set aside an extra R2 million to relieve economic pressures;
- Corruption will not be tolerated;
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will work in tandem with the South African Police Service (SAPS) to enforce law and order.
The defence ministry made it abundantly clear that this has been marked as a ‘wartime’ deployment, speaking to the level of tolerance that will be held in dealing with detractors.
Coronavirus: South Africa latest infection rate
The most recent coronavirus infection figures were turned in by Health Minister Dr Zwelihle Mkhize on Monday.
The number of infections in South Africa has increased by 128 to a total of 402 known cases.
All nine provinces have reported infections, with Gauteng and the Western Cape leading the country with a combined total of 307 infections, 76.3% of the country’s total.