South Africa’s lockdown to begin midnight Thursday

Samira Larbie, GNA

Accra, March 26, GNA
– South Africa, which has become Africa’s epicentre of COVID-19 will begin a
21-day lockdown effective the midnight of Thursday, March 26, as part of
measures to curb the spread of the pandemic.

President Cyril
Ramaphosa, of South Africa, who announced the lockdown on Monday in a televised
address to the nation, said the decision was necessary as the country kept
recording the highest number of cases on the continent.

swift and extraordinary action is required if we are to avoid human costs of
this virus,” President Ramaphosa stated; adding, “If the nation fails to act
swiftly, it could face a human catastrophe of enormous proportions,” a CNN
report said.

As at 1800 hours on
Thursday, March 26, the nation had recorded 927 total cases, with 12 total
recoveries, according

“The action we
are taking now will have lasting economic costs; but we are sure that the cost
of not acting now will be far greater,” the President said.

During the lockdown,
people would not be allowed to leave their homes except to buy food, medical
supplies, collect social grants or seek medical attention.

Shops and businesses
will be closed except for pharmacies, supermarkets, petrol stations and health
care providers, laboratories, banks and other essential financial services.

It said essential
personnel including health care workers, emergency and security personnel
necessary to the response would also be exempted.

President Ramaphosa
said the South African National Defense Force would be deployed to assist the
South African Police Service.

Meanwhile, more than
47 African countries had confirmed a total of 
more than 3000 cases as at 1800 hours on Thursday, March 26.

The other hardest
hit are Egypt – 456;  Algeria – 367;
Morocco – 275; Tunisia – 200;  Burkina
Faso – 152 and Ghana 132.   

Meanwhile, globally
more than 510,000 total cases have been recorded in 175 countries.

Nearly 23,000
patients have died.