The South African government has announced that the country will begin a total lockdown starting Thursday, March 26, in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the measures after the country’s coronavirus cases dropped from 274 to 402 on Monday March 23.
According to Ramaphosa, the residence order which will be in force until April 16 does not apply to essential service personnel, including the police, health workers and those involved in the supply of goods, including understood from food.
He said in his speech to the nation;
“We need to urgently and dramatically escalate our response.
“The next few days are crucial. Without decisive action the number of people infected will rapidly increase.
“This is extremely dangerous for a population like ours, which has a a large number of people with suppressed immunity because of HIV and TB, and high levels of poverty and malnutrition.”
The country currently in recession will be the third country in Africa to close all economic activities, except essential, after Rwanda and Tunisia.
According to figures released by the South African Ministry of Health, more than half of the total cases in South Africa are in Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg, the country’s largest city with 5.7 million inhabitants, and the capital, Pretoria, with 2.4 million.
Although no deaths from coronavirus have been recorded in the country, the majority of those infected are travelers from Europe and other countries. The number of locally transmitted cases is also increasing.