Covid-19 wrap: Ramaphosa announces nationwide lockdown for 21 days

23 March 2020 - 11:18 By TimesLIVE
A woman wears a mask and gloves at a restaurant in Cape Town, on March 20 2020, as a measure to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
A woman wears a mask and gloves at a restaurant in Cape Town, on March 20 2020, as a measure to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Image: REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

IOC member says 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be postponed

The International Olympic Committee has decided to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games because of the coronavirus pandemic, IOC member Dick Pound told USA Today.

Major sporting nations Australia and Canada had already withdrawn on Monday as organisers came under global pressure to postpone the event for the first time in the Olympics' 124-year modern history.

“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound was quoted as saying by the US newspaper. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.”


This is who is exempt from national lockdown - and what will be closed

As of Thursday March 26, the lives of many South Africans will be fundamentally changed.

But some people and businesses will be exempt.


'Cometh the moment, cometh the man': SA lauds Ramaphosa

South Africans have applauded President Cyril Ramaphosa after he announced that the country would go on a 21-day coronavirus lockdown from March 26.

The hashtags #CyrilRamaphosa, #MrPresident and #SALockdown topped the Twitter trends list after the announcement.

Here's a glimpse of what South Africans have said about SA's commander-in-chief.


Listen to Ramaphosa's full speech:


Ramaphosa promises to be ruthless on profiteering during Covid-19 crisis

President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised law enforcement will be ruthless against individuals who see the coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to make profits and be corrupt.

This promise was made as Ramaphosa announced a 21-day lockdown, starting on Thursday, which included several announcements of big amount of money pledged to mitigate with the spread of Covid-19.




'This just got real': SA responds to Covid-19 lockdown

On social media, the strict new regulations were welcomed.


READ IN FULL | Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on escalation of measures to combat Covid-19 epidemic


South Africans in Cape Town watch as President Cyril Ramaphosa announces lockdown measures to restrict the outbreak of Covid-19 in South Africa.
South Africans in Cape Town watch as President Cyril Ramaphosa announces lockdown measures to restrict the outbreak of Covid-19 in South Africa.
Image: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

SA on 21-day lockdown as country braces for more Covid-19 cases

South Africa will go into lockdown for three weeks from midnight on Thursday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday night that the National Command Team on the coronavirus said this was a necessary step to contain the spread of global pandemic.

South Africans would have to "stay at home" until midnight on April 16.

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"I call on all of us, one and all, to play our role as South Africans; to be courageous, to be patient and, above all, to show solidarity," Ramaphosa said. "We are a nation of one and we are surely going to prevail. May God protect our people."


The action SA is taking now will have lasting economic costs, the president said. "But we are convinced that the cost of not acting now will be far greater. We will prioritise the lives and the livelihoods of our people."


The government will act "very strongly" against any attempts at corruption and profiteering during the crisis, Ramaphosa said. "We expect all South Africans to act in the interest of the SA nation and not in their own selfish interest." Special new units of the National Prosecuting Authority will move quickly to act when evidence of corruption is found.


The SA Revenue Service will work towards paying employment tax incentives more frequently, while the Industrial Development Corporation has put a package of more than R3bn together for industrial funding to assist vulnerable firms. The department of tourism has made an additional R200m available to help that industry, which is reeling during this crisis.


Ramaphosa also announced a solidarity fund to which all businesses and private individuals can donate. The fund will account fully for every cent donated, and "will complement what we are doing in the public sector. It will be chaired by Gloria Serobe [the founder and executive director of Wiphold]."


Old-age and pension grants will be paid on March 30 and 31, and other grants on April 1. Most banks are to put measures in place in this regard in the next few days, the president said. He also called on large businesses in particular to take care of their workers during this period.


Old-age and pension grants will be paid on March 30 and 31, and other grants on April 1.


"We will be spending money to save lives and support the economy," said the president, adding that he applauded the commitment made by the Rupert and Oppenheimer families of R1bn each to help small businesses and their employees affected by the coronavirus pandemic in SA.


Ramaphosa said: "As we marshal our every resource and our every energy to fight this epidemic ... we are putting in place measures ... that will help cushion our economy."


Emergency water supplies – via water storage tanks, water tankers and boreholes – will be provided to informal settlements and rural areas.


Ramaphosa has authorised the SA National Defence Force to be deployed to support the SA Police Service in implementing the lockdown measures.


During the lockdown, individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except under strictly controlled circumstances – including to seek medical care; to buy food, medicines or other supplies; or collect social grants.


Workers involved in the production, distribution and supply of basic foods will also be exempt from the lockdown. A full list of essential personnel will be provided in due course, Ramaphosa said.


During the lockdown, which will last until midnight on Thursday April 16, all South Africans will have to stay at home, though there will be exemptions for health workers in the public and private sectors; emergency personnel; and those working in security services such as police, traffic officers and soldiers.


During the lockdown, all South Africans will have to stay at home, though there will be exemptions for health workers in the public and private sectors; emergency personnel; and those working in security services such as police, traffic officers and soldiers.


SA is going into lockdown, the president confirmed: "The National Coronavirus Command Council has decided to enforce a nationwide lockdown for 21 days, with effect from midnight, Thursday March 26."


President Ramaphosa has started addressing the nation

"In SA, the number of confirmed cases has increased six-fold in just eight days, from 61 cases to 402 cases. This number will continue to rise," President Cyril Ramaphosa told South Africans on Monday night in a live televised address to the nation. The country's fundamental task is to "contain the spread of the disease", he said.


England's Covid-19 death toll rises by 46 to 303

A further 46 people in England have died after testing positive to coronavirus, health authorities said on Monday, taking the total number of deaths to 303.

That is up from 37 deaths on Sunday.

National Health Service England said the patients whose deaths were announced on Monday were aged between 47 and 105 years old and all had underlying health conditions.

- Reuters


SANDF members arrive at Rand Light Infantry on March 23 2020 in Johannesburg. Buses of SANDF members were spotted along Jan Smuts Avenue in Craighall ahead of President Ramaphosa’s speech to outiline steps to combat Covid-19.
SANDF members arrive at Rand Light Infantry on March 23 2020 in Johannesburg. Buses of SANDF members were spotted along Jan Smuts Avenue in Craighall ahead of President Ramaphosa’s speech to outiline steps to combat Covid-19.
Image: Gallo Images/Dino Lloyd

The SA National Defence Force took to social media on Monday afternoon to confirm that soldiers arriving in Johannesburg was “part of normal preparations” to “support” the government.

The SANDF said on its official Twitter account that it was part of a “mobilisation phase”.

View more pics here.


It is safe to donate, virus cannot be transmitted through blood, says SANBS

The SA National Blood Service (SANBS) has assured South Africans that donating blood during the Covid-19 outbreak is safe.

The organisation's Dr Pheello Lethola said the service was concerned by the significant drop in blood units being donated as more people practised social distancing and self-isolation.


State considering 21-day lockdown to halt spread of Covid-19

A three-week national lockdown is among the proposals being weighed up by the government as it considers how best to manage SA’s surging Covid-19 outbreak, BusinessLIVE reported.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation on Monday evening, and announce further restrictions on trade, travel and social interaction to try to contain the outbreak, which has reached 402 cases in less than three weeks since the first case was announced on March 5.


Ramaphosa set to address nation at 7.30pm

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation at 7.30pm on the steps being taken to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 in SA.

"President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation on the government’s response to the Coronavirus today, Monday, March 23 2020, at 7.30pm," said a statement from his spokesperson, Khusela Diko.



No international visitors allowed as KZN hospitals limit visits to patients

The KwaZulu-Natal department of health is limiting patient visitation and not allowing international visitors at any of its hospitals during the global coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, MEC for health Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu announced that visiting hours would now be limited to one hour - 1pm to 2pm - and visitors would be limited to two per patient. International visitors will not be allowed at the facilities.


People wearing protective face masks sit on social distancing benches at a bus station after many activities have been closed due to the coronavirus outbreak in Thailand on March 22 2020.
People wearing protective face masks sit on social distancing benches at a bus station after many activities have been closed due to the coronavirus outbreak in Thailand on March 22 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Challinee Thirasupa

Muslim Judicial Council distances itself from fake Covid-19 message

The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has distanced itself from a fake message being widely shared about Covid-19.

The message, which was shared on WhatsApp at the weekend, claimed the source of the information was the MJC.


AA asks motorists to be vigilant during state of disaster

With more people staying home and the roads quieter, people are driving faster – especially on highways and freeways.

This is according to the Automobile Association (AA), which on Monday encouraged people to be safe and to continue to follow the rules of the road.



Stellenbosch Municipality reducing number of staff at all offices

The Stellenbosch Municipality said on Monday it was reducing the number of staff at all municipal offices by 50% until further notice.

Administrative staff will be required to work from home on a rotational basis, "helping us limit physical contact as much as possible while still enabling us to effectively deliver services to residents", the municipality said.

"The municipality is doing all it can to protect our employees, while still ensuring that essential services such as refuse removal, area cleaning, water and electricity services continues as normal," it said in a statement.


The window lights of a hotel are illuminated in the shape of a heart after German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the nation on the consequences of the spread of Covid-19 in Frankfurt, Germany, on March 22 2020.
The window lights of a hotel are illuminated in the shape of a heart after German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the nation on the consequences of the spread of Covid-19 in Frankfurt, Germany, on March 22 2020.
Image: REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

East London Covid-19 woman breaks quarantine

The provincial government is scrambling to quarantine Eastern Cape's Covid-19 patient zero, who has been roaming around East London in defiance of the state's containment measures.

Tough-talking health MEC Sindiswa Gomba said patient one — who allegedly claimed to be exercising her right to freedom of movement after testing positive for the virus following her trip from Germany — should not infringe on the rights of others.



SA's confirmed Covid-19 cases move past 400

The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in South Africa has risen to 402.

Of the cases, 207 are in Gauteng.

This is according to a statement issued by health minister Zweli Mkhize on Monday afternoon.


Nigeria reports first coronavirus death

Nigeria on Monday reported its first death from coronavirus as confirmed cases of infections in Africa's most populous nation climbed further.

"The case was a 67-year-old male who returned home following medical treatment in UK. He had underlying medical conditions - multiple myeloma & diabetes & was undergoing chemotherapy," the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control wrote on Twitter.



Nyaniso Dzedze turns to law after his wife is detained at OR Tambo

Actor Nyaniso Dzedze has turned to social media and the law in a desperate attempt to get his English-German wife, Yana Seidl, released from "detention" at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. 

Yana and Nyaniso were returning to the country from Rwanda in the wake of travel bans announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19. 


Eastern Cape health department 'baffled' at how tourist was allowed to travel

The Eastern Cape government is implementing stringent measures to prevent tourists spreading coronavirus in the province.

This comes after a German tourist, who is part of a tour group at Chintsa's Crawford's Beach Lodge, tested positive for the virus.

The provincial health department is “baffled” at how the tourist was allowed to travel, as he had reported symptoms in KwaZulu-Natal.



SA star Dino Ndlovu returns to China: 'I’ve arrived safely and on a 14-day quarantine period'

South African international Dino Ndlovu has voiced his satisfaction with how China has managed to contain the coronavirus after arriving back at his Hangzhou-based club at the weekend.

The China-based Ndlovu told TimesLIVE from his Hangzhou home that life is slowly returning to normal in the East Asia country to such an extent that he would start training with his team on April 3.


KZN education department takes matric classes to the airwaves

The KwaZulu-Natal education department will take matric lessons to the airwaves from Monday.

Most radio stations in the province, including Ukhozi FM, Vuma FM, East Coast Radio and Gagasi, are scheduled to hold lessons between Monday and Friday in different time slots.

Some stations will extend lessons to the weekends.


MEC slams operators after foreign tourists test positive for Covid-19

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for health Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu has slammed tour operators in St Lucia, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, for welcoming tourists from high-risk areas. 

This after two Germans were found to be mingling with a group of 10 South Africans on a boat on St Lucia's estuary after testing positive for Covid-19 on Saturday.


Strict measures taken by world leaders in five countries

World leaders have implemented strict measures in their countries to halt the spread of Covid-19.

The measures include enforcing staying at home, travel bans, school closures and prohibitions on gatherings.

Here are some of the measures taken by world leaders in Austria, Germany, Italy, the US and SA.





Will it come back? Experts weigh in on aftermath of Covid-19

The Covid-19 tidal wave seems to have already subsided in China, where the novel coronavirus first broke out late last year: over recent days no new local cases have been recorded.

But French public health specialist and epidemiologist Antoine Flahault in the Lancet medical journal wonders if the worse is not yet to come.

China could so far have "experienced a herald wave, to use terminology borrowed from those who study tsunamis, and is the big wave still to come?" he wrote.



#Quarantinebookclub: Here's a list of must-reads to add to your collection

Whether social distancing, self-isolating or under quarantine in the wake of Covid-19, millions around the world are speaking out about being stuck at home.

When Netflix and the fridge weren't good options any more, people turned to social media to share their lists of must-read books.



Returning Rhodes University student in isolation after allegedly being allowed to go home

A Rhodes University student, who was allegedly allowed to go to his private residence after arriving at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport from the US, has been isolated, the institution said.

In a statement issued by the university, the student arrived at the airport on Thursday. He was allegedly allowed to go to Makhanda instead of being taken to the mandatory quarantine site for all arrivals.


President Ramaphosa will address the country on Monday night

President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to address the nation on Monday evening. The time will be confirmed during the day, minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu said.

His brief statement read: “President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation this evening on the coronavirus pandemic. At that stage the President would have finalised measures to be undertaken to mitigate the impact of the virus on our people and the economy.”


WATCH | Business as usual at Johannesburg's potential Covid-19 hotspots


SA Olympic champ warns athletes after catching Covid-19

SA's former Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh has spoken out about the debilitating effects of Covid-19 after contracting the disease recently, warning the lack of clarification about the Tokyo Games was putting athletes at increased risk as they persevered trying to train.

“I have been struggling with Covid-19 for 14 days today,” the 100m breaststroke gold medallist from London 2012 wrote on Twitter on Sunday night.

“By far the worst virus I have ever endured despite being a healthy individual with strong lungs (no smoking/sport), living a healthy lifestyle and being young (least at risk demographic).


Convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein tests positive for Covid-19

Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, US media reported on Sunday.

Weinstein is in prison in New York state after being sentenced to 23 years in jail for rape and sexual assault.

The fallen film producer's diagnosis was first reported on Sunday evening by local paper the Niagara Gazette.



Zodwa Wabantu uses coronavirus social distancing to focus on her romance

Many South Africans have found it challenging to adjust to social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak, but Zodwa Wabantu has chosen to use the "free time" to spend quality moments with her loved ones. 

The entertainer said this time out has given her a chance to really get to know the other sides of who she is.



Canada pulls out of 2020 Olympic Games

Canada became the first country to boycott the Tokyo Games due to the coronavirus pandemic and Australia told its athletes to prepare for an Olympics next year, as Japan and the IOC flagged the prospect of a postponement for the first time.

Opposition to holding the Games in July has risen sharply in the past 48 hours, with several major stakeholders, such as US Track and Field and UK Athletics, with some national Olympic committees, calling for a delay because of the pandemic.


Standard Bank offers zero percent interest with student loan 'holiday'

Everyone studying full time with a Standard Bank student loan will receive a three-month payment holiday at 0% interest and with zero fees.

This was announced by Standard Bank on Sunday as part of its Covid-19 financial relief measures for customers. The payment relief is also being extended to the bank’s small enterprise customers with turnover of less than R20m.

The relief measures will commence on April 1 and run through to the end June.


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