Africa

COVID-19: South Africa extends national lockdown by two weeks

The country’s increase in confirmed cases slowed to a daily average of 4% from 42% in two weeks   

 
By DTE Staff
Published: Friday 10 April 2020
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa. Source: Flickr

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa ordered a two-week extension of the 21-day lockdown, instituted on March 26, 2020, in a bid to contain the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

South Africa was the second country after Rwanda to announce national lockdown. Rwanda, too, extended the lockdown by two weeks on April 2. The East African country had reported over a 100 cases as on April 7, 2020. 

South Africa, Egypt and Algeria, have emerged as hotspots for the virus (SARS-CoV-2) in the continent.

The president said public restrictions had an impact in curtailing COVID-19 spread in the country. According to him, a scientific analysis showed daily increase in confirmed infections slowed to an average of 4 per cent from 42 per cent in two weeks because of the lockdown.

The lockdown extension was ordered despite several leaders lobbying for its removal.

The country recorded 1,934 positive COVID-19 cases as on April 10, 2020. This was an increase from 1,170 infections at the beginning of the lockdown, the president said.

The president also directed all cabinet and deputy ministers and provincial premiers to take an immediate 33 per cent pay cut. The money will go to the Solidarity Fund, for which 2.2-billion rand has been raised since its launch on March 23. About 1 bln rand has already been spent on protective equipment.

“Closing borders, prohibiting gatherings and social distancing have definitely slowed the spread of the virus SARS-CoV-2,” he stated.

The president also acknowledged the loss in income and economic downfall.

The country had announced door-to-door screening earlier this month  in a bid to ramp up testing.

“People with symptoms will be referred to local clinics or mobile clinics for testing. Those found to be infected with the virus but with no or moderate symptoms, will remain in isolation at home or at a facility provided by government,” the president had said.

Those with severe symptoms will be transferred to hospitals, he had added.

 

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