Sunday, 26 July marks four months since South Africa effected a lockdown. It was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 23 March as part of the country’s efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Effected under the National State of Disaster Act, the lockdown levels vary in terms of regulations from the strict Level 5 to the more eased Level 1.
The country is currently at an Advanced Level 3 stage and has one of the highest infection rates in the world. These are the highlights of the news since March 26:
ALERT LEVEL 5
- Lockdown is officially in effect, with a ban on inter-provincial travel.
- Alcohol and cigarette sales banned.
- The SANDF is deployed and government identifies quarantine sites.
- President Cyril Ramaphosa tests negative for COVID-19.
- South Africa records first COVID-19 related death in the Western Cape.
- COVID-19 infections surpass the 1000 mark.
- Moody’s downgrades South Africa to ‘junk’ status amid lockdowns.
- The Health Department in the Free State says it has managed to trace 973 COVID-19 contacts in the province after 480 people that attended a church service and had some contact with international guests tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
- Allegations of police and armed forces’ brutality reported during lockdowns.
- British American Tobacco urges the government to reconsider its ban on cigarette sales, saying it would have unintended consequences.
- Lockdown is extended by two more weeks.
- South Africa records its first COVID-19 death of a patient who had no underlying medical condition.
- Rating agency Moody’s cuts its forecast for South Africa’s economy to a 2.5% contraction in 2020, citing the impact of a nationwide shutdown aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19.
- The Department of Basic Education postpones the May/June Amended Senior Certificate (old matric) and National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination.
- Ramaphosa announces a R500 billion support package for the economy.
- UIF website crashes due to influx of visitors
ALERT LEVEL 4
- SAHRC calls for mechanisms to curb gender-based violence during lockdown.
- Inter-provincial travel is allowed for a week amid the easing of lockdown restrictions in attempts to aid the ailing economy
- Scores of joggers, cyclists and walkers at the Sea Point Promenade in Cape Town.
- Sanef commemorates Press Freedom Day, commends South Africa’s coverage of COVID-19 outbreak
- Family of Alexandra man, Collins Khosa, allegedly killed by soldiers, expresses distrust in SANDF probe.
- First public hospital closed due to COVID-19 in Durban.
- Inter-provincial travel period ends.
- People who want to move house can now do so under strict conditions until the 7th of June.
- Home-made beer claims four lives in Eastern Cape following alcohol sales ban.
ALERT LEVEL 3
- Grades seven and 12 reopen for school.
- Minister Nkoana-Mashabane calls on society to unite against gender-based violence.
- Treasury says South Africa has been granted over R17 billion Emergency Assistance Program loan by the New Development Bank.
- Rules for beauty industry gazetted.
- First COVID-19 vaccine trial in SA begins
- North West MEC for CoGTA Gordon Kegakilwe dies after contracting coronavirus
- North West Premier Job Mokgoro tests positive for COVID-19
- South Africa records the highest number of confirmed infections in one day: 13 674
- Daughter of Nelson Mandela, Zindzi Mandela dies
- SADTU calls for closure of all schools until after COVID-19 peak
- The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe test positive for COVID-19
- Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi tests positive for COVID-19
- South Africa became the fifth-worst affected by the coronavirus cases globally with more than 360 000 infections
- Minister Thulas Nxesi admitted to hospital due to COVID-19
- Rivonia trialist Andre Mlangeni dies
- The highest number of confirmed COVID-19 related deaths is recorded: 572
- Ramaphosa announces temporary closure of schools
- Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel tests positive for COVID-19.