President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday that South Africa would be on lockdown from midnight Thursday for 21 days to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement came after Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced earlier that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had skyrocketed to 402, a jump of 128 since Sunday’s announcement.
That number is a six-fold increase from just eight days ago, Mr. Rampahosa said in a live televised address.
“Those countries that have acted swiftly and dramatically have been far more effective in controlling the spread of the disease,” said Ramaphosa who declared a national state of disaster last week, and imposed measures like travel bans to curb the spread of coronavirus.
“We must therefore do everything within our means to reduce the overall number of infections and to delay the spread of infection over a longer period,” he added.
During the lockdown, individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except under strict controlled circumstances while all shops and businesses will be closed except those providing essential services. He said temporary shelters will be set up for the homeless and medical security personnel will be exempt from the lockdown.