Gauteng Premier David Makhura says the province’s dense population is making social distancing difficult to contain the spread of the Coronavirus in the province.

Briefing the media on the province plans ahead of the 21-day lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday, Makhura has urged Gauteng residents to remain at home and in the province.

He says the President’s decision to impose a lockdown is a necessary measure to curb the spread of the Coronavirus.

Gauteng is the epicentre of the Coronavirus in South Africa.

Below is Makhura’s full briefing:

‘Remain home’

Makhura says he has met with various departments and stakeholders to discuss the measures that will be put in place. He has also urged residence of Gauteng to remain in the during the lockdown.

“Moving from the province to other provinces will create a problem in that people who may have the virus and are unaware will take it to other places.”

If you are not part of essential services you are urged to remain home, says Makhura.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced on Wednesday that the number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases has gone up to 709 cases.

The cases have increased by 155 from Tuesday’s 554.

Mkhize says they are tracing almost 2 000 contact cases after the department noted 15 new cases in the Free State linked to a church in Mangaung. Even with the 21-day lockdown implemented to curb the spread, Mkhize says the number will rise.

Mkhize is urging people to remain where they are, and not flock from urban to rural areas before the 21-day lockdown commences on Thursday midnight.

“People must stay at home and they mustn’t actually use this as a free holiday where they walk around, travelling, visiting places. We are certainly discouraging large movement of people between different provinces, between big cities. People mustn’t start treating this like a December festive season where they will go out and party and so on. People must take this as a very serious sombre moment.”

In the video below, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize gives an update on COVID-19: