On this day three years ago, South Africa woke up under a hard lockdown after Level 5 restrictions kicked in at midnight. President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement a few days before the lockdown, after consultation with leaders of political parties and the National Coronavirus Command Council.
This after a National State of Disaster was declared on the 15th of March 2020 in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus in South Africa.
It was the first time that the Disaster Management Act was invoked to declare a National State of Disaster.
The intense restrictions under Level 5 saw the closure of schools. The sale of alcohol and cigarettes was prohibited.
The movement of people was restricted as South African borders were closed, while inter-provincial travelling was also restricted.
Many other economic activities, including restaurants and hotels, could not operate. Only essential services workers were allowed to work.
The lockdown which was initially expected to last for 21 days was later extended as the coronavirus was spreading with Gauteng and the Western Cape as the first COVID-19 epicenters.
Level 5 was lifted after a month, before Level 4 restrictions were introduced at the end of April, with the introduction of a curfew from 8 PM to 5 AM and the wearing of masks.
Although we are moving to #level4lockdown on Friday 1 May, some restrictions remain in place. It is important that we adhere to the conditions of the #LockdownSA to avoid moving back to level 5 pic.twitter.com/Bzk5WxIQ9K
— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) April 25, 2020