President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a national lockdown for 21 days. Addressing South Africans on government’s measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, Ramaphosa says the lockdown will start on midnight Thursday, 26 March till 16 April.
“This is a decisive measure to save the lives of South Africans from infection and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of our people. While this measure will have a considerable impact on people’s livelihoods, on the life of our society and our economy, the human cost of delaying this action will be far, far greater.”
South Africa currently has 402 numbers of cases with Gauteng having the largest number of cases followed by Western Cape.
Ramaphosa says during the lockdown, all South Africans, except for essential personnel will have to stay at home.
“The categories of people who will be exempted from this lockdown are the following, health workers in the public and private sectors, emergency personnel, those who are in security services such as the police, traffic officers, military medical personnel, soldiers and other persons necessary for our response to the pandemic. It will also include those who are in production, distribution and supply of food and basic goods, essential banking services, the maintenance of power, water and telecommunications.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa says the government is prioritising the lives of South Africans:
Ramaphosa also announced special circumstances in which people will be allowed to leave the house. “ Individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except under strictly, controlled, circumstances such as to seek medical care, buy food, and other suppliers or collect a social grant.”
He says temporary shelters will be identified for homeless people.
The infographic below shows the number of coronavirus cases in South Africa:
Impact of coronavirus pandemic in Africa
Ethiopia has closed its land borders in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. This comes as Zimbabwe and Nigeria confirm their first deaths from the virus.
Ethiopia still accepts flights in and out of the country but its national airline, Ethiopian Airlines, has stopped flights to at least 30 countries where travel restrictions have been enforced.
Countries around Ethiopia’s borders Eritrea, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Djibouti and Somalia have all except South Sudan reported cases of coronavirus. Closing its land borders to protect the spread of COVID -19 means that people will not be able to cross and leave the country to and from these countries by road.
Kenya and Djibouti have cancelled international flights meaning Ethiopia’s National Airline, Ethiopian Airlines is banned too. This decision will mean trade between Kenya and Ethiopia will be affected. It will affect cargo movement of goods in and out of the country from the Djibouti port.
Landlocked Ethiopia depends on the Djibouti port for the importation of majority of its goods. Djibouti will also be affected because it buys drinking water, vegetable grains and from Ethiopia.
South Sudanese people will not be able to cross into Ethiopia seeking refuge. Ethiopia has allocated over $150 million for combating the pandemic.
Below are some of the reactions to the announcements: