COVID-19: SA announces lockdown, deploys army

Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa

PRETORIA, (CAJ News) SOUTH African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has announced a nationwide lockdown and the deployment of the National Defence Force (SANDF) in other drastic measures against the coronavirus disease.

The announcement on Monday evening came amid the crisis spiraling beyond 400 cases.

Cases have been rising despite Ramaphosa declaring a state of emergency last week.

“Today, there are over 340 000 confirmed cases across the world,” the president said.

He noted in South Africa, the number of confirmed cases had increased six-fold in just eight days from 61 cases to 402 cases.

“This number will continue to rise,” Ramaphosa said frankly.

He said it was clear from the development of the disease in other countries and from the country’s own modelling that immediate, swift and extraordinary action was required in order to prevent a human catastrophe of enormous proportions in South Africa.

“Our fundamental task at this moment is to contain the spread of the disease.”

From midnight on Thursday March 26 until midnight on Thursday April 16, all South Africans would be required to stay at home.

Among those exempt are health workers, emergency personnel, those in security services – such as the police, traffic officers, military medical personnel, soldiers – and other persons necessary for the response to the pandemic.

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.

The opposition Democratic Alliance welcomed the announcements.

“Locking down our country and deploying the SANDF (soldiers) is something no South African would ever want to see in peacetime, but given the severity of our challenge it is absolutely the right thing to do,” said John Steenhuisen, DA leader.

. CAJ News

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