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Crowds flock to the shops on day one of national lockdown
27 March 2020, 2:24 PM

As the first day of a 21-day national lockdown began in South Africa on Friday, scores of people in various parts of the country flocked to the shops to buy food and other essentials.

In Alexandra township, there were snaking queues outside shops.

In the video below, SABC’s Hasina Gori reports on the situation in Alexandra:

A similar situation prevailed at the Wonderpark Shopping Centre in Pretoria.

Banks were also operational with some branches, including Capitec, African Bank and First National Bank, allowing walk-ins.

But all clothing shops and fast food restaurants were closed, as per government’s instructions.

And despite Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s stern warning that the government would not allow people to travel in groups, some Akasia residents were seen driving in groups of four or in pairs, while some taxis continued to ferry stranded commuters.

Call for extension of public transport hours

Some commuters in Bloemfontein, in the Free State, were left stranded in the CBD after their shopping.

Taxis are operating at set times as part of government’s effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus that has claimed two live in the country so far.

The community members now want the Minister of Transport to extend operating hours for taxis.

They say the lockdown is not helping to curb the spread of COVID-19 as they are now stranded in a dirty environment.

“We have been here since in the morning around 9. The taxis are having a problem they say minister released the order that at 9 they must stop taking people. So now we have to wait until four and some of the taxi drivers say they won’t transport because they are only supposed to transport four people and they can’t transport four people. The problem that we are facing is that most of retailers open at 9, some at 8 so by that time we don’t have the transport to take us home.”

In KwaZulu-Natal, eThekwini Metro Police have been deployed to townships around Durban, following reports that people were not adhering to the lockdown protocols.

Earlier on Friday, some people were seen moving around, going about their daily routine. 

“We are happy that in the CBD it seems as if people have adhered to the call by the president on the lockdown. But we also have some worries about the respect of this decision especially in areas such as Mlazi townships and other townships hence we have decided to re-enforce our law enforcement agencies so that they can be all over in all places to ensure that they are enforcing the decision of our government. So, we are appealing to people to adhere to it. It is not intended to disrupt their lives, but it is indeed intended to save the lives of our people.,” says eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda.

 

South Africa’s three-week lockdown kicked off at midnight and will end at midnight on April 16, 2020.

It comes as the world races to contain the virus that’s threatening world economies and humanity.

The number of confirmed cases worldwide has exceeded 200 000, with more than 8 000 deaths.

 

Lockdown law breakers arrested Durban, Johannesburg
27 March 2020, 10:19 AM

Police Minister Bheki Cele says at least seven people have been arrested in Montclair, Durban, for going against the national lockdown regulations.

Several other revelers were arrested at a nightclub in Hillbrow in Johanneburg, Gauteng, for violating the rules.

This as the nation goes into a 21-day lockdown to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The country has 927 confirmed Covid19 cases – the highest in Africa.

Cele says while most people are following the rules, only a few have been found wanting.

“They are adhering and a few problems. In Durban I am told things went well, but seven people were arrested in Montclair , where they were dancing and drinking on the road at 2AM. Police had to act and they were arrested,” he says.

Lockdown will bear fruit

National Police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo says police believe the lockdown will yield positive results in slowing the spread of coronavirus.

Naidoo says police together with the army and other road traffic authorities are taking a strong stance in ensuring rules are adhered to.

“Those that are non-essential will also be able to move around provided that it is for the purpose of procurement of groceries, medical supplies, visiting a doctor or a hospital or clinic and those people will have to prove to the security forces that they are indeed out of their houses for those purposes.”

“And for those people that leave your houses and they cannot prove to the police that they are going out for the purposes that I’ve outlined, then they will be warned to return to their house and if they transgress for the second time then, we will have them arrested for the contravention of the lockdown,” explains Naidoo.

In the video below, President Ramaphosa addresses the nation on coronavirus:

Public transport during lockdown

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says public transport would only be available from 5am and 9am, and 4pm and 8pm.

However, the minister has emphasised that buses and trains will not be allowed to transport people.

He has added that taxis would be allowed to ferry essential services workers and consumers to shops, but under strict and control measures that observe social distancing to limit the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

In the video below, Minister Mbalula shares transport guidelines:

Uber, Bolt and metered taxis would also be allowed to operate, under under strict and control measures as well.

Workers who have been categorised as essential services will be allowed to travel in private vehicles under strict measures.

These measure include that a vehicle certified to carry four passengers will be allowed to carry one person only, while a vehicle licensed to carry up to 8 passengers will only be permitted to load a maximum of 3 passengers.

Policing

Police Minister Bheki Cele has once again reiterated that pet walking and the selling of alcohol will not be allowed during the lockdown period.

Cele says individuals found to be breaking these laws may be subjected to six years in jail or a fine.

“Equally, the movement of liquor between any two points is also strictly prohibited as per the Covid-19 Disaster Management Regulations,” says the minister.

In the video below, Minister Cele says police will be on high alert:

He has warned the public against defying these new regulations.

Cele says people should not use this lockdown period to host braais.

“Therefore, anyone found to be in contravention of the regulations, shall be found guilty and on conviction, will be liable to a fine, or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both,” Cele adds.

Below is the timeline of South Africa’s COVID-19 cases:

Ramaphosa tests negative for COVID-19
26 March 2020, 11:40 AM

President Cyril Ramaphosa has tested negative for the coronavirus.

He went for testing as a precautionary measure upon the advice of his physicians on Tuesday and received his results on Wednesday night.

As Head of State and Chair of the National Command Council, Ramaphosa has a rigorous public engagements schedule.

In the last few weeks, he has held numerous meetings with people from all walks of life.

The Presidency has deemed it necessary to make the test results public to reassure the nation that he is in good health.

South Africa has registered 709 cases, the highest in Africa.

Prayer

President Cyril Ramaphosa has also called on all South Africans to pray on Thursday evening between 6 PM and 6:30 PM in response to the pandemic.

This will be six hours before the 21-day nationwide lockdown declared to help curb the spread of the virus.

Currently the country has recorded 709 COVID-19 infections and there are fears this could increase.

Ramaphosa says this is the moment when South Africans need to act together as one patriotic nation in solidarity with all those affected or impacted by COVID-19, not just in South Africa but around the world.

“These are challenging times. We are traversing a path we have never travelled before. There are many amongst us who are fearful, uncertain and vulnerable. I call on our people to offer a prayer and a thought for the protection and healing of our land and its people from this disease,” Ramaphosa says.

“Over the past two weeks, South Africans from all walks of life have demonstrated their resilience by complying with the restrictions that have been placed on their lives. Because we are in a state of national lockdown our prayers must be offered from our hearts and in our homes,” he says.

The graphic below shows a 21 day lockdown measures

 

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Lockdown

Speaking at a security cluster briefing on the stringent measures that will come into effect during the lockdown period, ministers stressed the seriousness of the situation.  They warned that people who do not comply will face the full might of the law.

Police Minister Bheki Cele says alcohol consumption in public areas and the sale of alcohol during the 21-day national lockdown is prohibited.

Cele was briefing media in Pretoria about measures that his department will be taking to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

In the video below, Bheki Cele speaks about security measures for COVID-19:

Increase in coronavirus cases 

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says he is concerned about the drastic increase in the number of coronavirus infections in the country.

The minister announced earlier that the number of infections has increased to 709 overnight showing an increase of 155 cases in a day up from 554 from on Tuesday.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the SABC, Mkhize says the most increases were in Gauteng where there are 64 new cases.

He says there is still going to be quite an increase in the number of cases.

Below is the full interview on Morning Live:

INFOGRAPHIC: Isolation vs Quarantine

 


Isolation vs Quarantine

What you can and can’t do during the lockdown
26 March 2020, 10:20 AM

As the country counts down to the national lockdown on Thursday, ministers of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster have once again urged the public to adhere to new regulations.

On Monday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would be on a 21 days national lockdown from midnight as the country tries to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

In the video below, President Ramaphosa addresses the nation on Coronavirus

During the lockdown, people will be confined to their homes unless they are performing an essential services.

Movements will be allowed for people collecting a social grant or seeking medical help or collecting chronic medication.

Different ministers have since informed the nation about government measures that will be put in place during the lockdown.

According to the government, only essential services will be allowed during this lockdown.

 

Below are some of the things you will be permitted to do and things you will be not be allowed to do during the 21 days lockdown period.

Public Transport

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula says public transport would only be available from 5am and 9am, and 4pm and 8pm.

However, the minister has emphasised that buses and trains will not be allowed to transport people.

He has added that taxis would be allowed to ferry essential services workers and consumers to shops, but under strict and control measures that observe social distancing to limit the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

In the video below, Minister Mbalula shares transport guidelines

Uber, Bolt and metered taxis would also be allowed to operate, under under strict and control measures as well.

Workers who have been categorised as essential services will be allowed to travel in private vehicles under strict measures.

These measure include that a vehicle certified to carry four passengers will be allowed to carry one person only, while a vehicle licensed to carry up to 8 passengers will only be permitted to load a maximum of 3 passengers.

 

Services offered by the department of transport, like driver’s licence applications and renewals, have also been put on hold.

Motorists would not be penalised if their driving licenses expires during the 21 days lockdown period.

Policing

Police Minister Bheki Cele has once again reiterated that pet walking and the selling of alcohol will not be allowed during the lockdown period.

Cele says individuals found to be breaking these laws may be subjected to six years in jail or a fine.

“Equally, the movement of liquor between any two points is also strictly prohibited as per the Covid-19 Disaster Management Regulations,” says the minister.

In the video below, Minister Bheki Cele says police will be on alert

He has warned the public against defying these new regulations.

Cele says people should not use this lockdown period to host braais.

“Therefore, anyone found to be in contravention of the regulations, shall be found guilty and on conviction, will be liable to a fine, or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both,” Cele adds.

Traffic officials, South African Police Service (SAPS) officials and members of the South African Defence Force (SANDF) will conduct roadblocks as of midnight.

“Metro Police Departments as well as other law enforcement agencies will form part of these joint operations that will be conducted for the duration of the lockdown. Operations, especially roadblocks, will be conducted at sector policing level within communities and residential areas, on provincial and national roads. This will ensure that the movement of people and vehicles is kept to the minimum, with the exception of the transportation of essential good and/or services which include fire and medical emergency services,” explains the minister.

Cele says the number of people allowed to attend funerals has been reduced to 50 and might even be scaled further down in the coming days.

However, no night vigils will be permitted.

Buying of essentials

Shops will be opened for food and medication.

No restaurants or fast-food outlet will be operational and also no clothing stores will be allowed to operate.

 

All businesses will be closed except for those involved in the manufacture of essential goods, or the supply or provision of an essential service.

Government has advised that people should buy their essential goods from their nearest outlets, including at their nearest spaza shops.

However, the government has again warned the public against panic buying.

In the video below, Minister Ronald Lamola speaks about security measures for COVID-19

NSRI to remain fully operational during lockdown
26 March 2020, 8:53 AM

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSIR) says it will remain fully operational and ready to respond to emergencies during the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa.

All beaches have been closed ahead of the lockdown.

The NSRI, a non-profit organisation, is appealing to the public for donations to help them continue to save lives.

NSRI spokesperson, Craig Lambinon says, “All precautions and protocols as directed by the Department of Health are being adhered to during rescue operations. This includes operations involving patient evacuations off ships. We appeal to everyone to visit our website and to make a donation, however small, to keep us afloat.”

Ministers stress on stringent measures during lockdown

Speaking at a security cluster briefing on the stringent measures that will come into effect during the lockdown period, ministers stressed the seriousness of the situation. They warned that people who don’t comply will face the full might of the law.

Police Minister Bheki Cele says alcohol consumption in public areas and the sale of alcohol during the 21-day national lockdown is prohibited.

Cele was briefing media in Pretoria about measures that his department will be taking to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

“All consumption premises where liquor is sold. This time you are not buying liquor between 9 and 6. All consumption premises including bottle stores where liquor is sold … when you go to these supermarkets there are potions that sell liquor, they shall not. If we find liquor in your boot, that’s crime. For 21 days, please stay sober.”

 

Deployment of SANDF members 

Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has slammed what she calls the spreading of fake news on social media relating to the deployment of SANDF members across the country. Mapisa-Nqakula has clarified that no soldiers have been deployed yet and any visuals on social media of information that states otherwise are fake news.

“There is no deployment of soldiers currently in the streets of SA. You may have seen them moving in transit, you have not seen soldiers patrolling, manning roadblocks because in the first instance we are protecting South Africans against a virus. Our numbers have escalated and therefore we now have to come and support the police in enforcing the law by ensuring that everybody remains behind doors.”

Home Affairs to provide essential services

Home Affairs Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi announced that Home Affairs will only provide essential services such as issuing death certificates and temporary IDs. He says there will be no issuing of other documents including new marriage certificates, new births certificates, and passports.

Motsoaledi says only goods and no people will be allowed to move through the country’s borders during the lockdown period. He adds that only 18 border posts will remain open from Thursday night to allow for the transportation of goods. Motsoaledi also announced that people who have circulated false news about the pandemic will be charged.

“I want to state here that this fake news tends to be more dangerous sometimes as much as the virus itself because it worries people. Because of this and because we are on possession of the original source of the pictures I’ve instructed my officials to go an lay a charge with the police. This is the first test case of whether fake news can be charged or not. We are going to charge these ones and we have identified at least 3 of them.”

Cases of COVID-19 at correctional centres

Speaking at the same briefing, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola says there have been 16 suspected coronavirus cases among officials at correctional centres across the country. He says 11 of the officials have tested negative for the virus and results for the remaining five are pending.

“There have been processes of sanitisation; deep cleaning (at) some of the correctional centres, which are still continuing, as we speak. There have been suspected cases from our officials about 16 officials. 11 of them have been cleared from the processes of testing. We are still awaiting results for the five officials.”

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