COVID-19, South African Government Declares National Disaster

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In an announcement on Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a national disaster after 61 cases of people infected by COVID -19 has been confirmed.

The South African government has put emergency safety measures in place after 10 of the 61 cases have been locally transmitted.

What you need to know:

  • Schools will be closed from 18 March until after the Easter holidays.
  • Travel bans are in place to and from all high-risk countries will be put in place as of such as 18 March. These countries include Germany, Italy, China, South Korea, and the US.
  • The gathering of large groups of more than 100 people is prohibited.
  • The Presidency encourages a prohibition of travel by taxi, rail, air, water or bus.
  • Two of the 8 South African seaports have been closed.
  • 35 of the 53 land ports have been closed.
  • All Foreign travellers who have travelled from high-risk areas to South Africa since February 2020 need to submit themselves for testing.
  • No new Visas for high-risk countries will be issued.
  • Visas to these countries that have been issued will be revoked.
  • South African travellers from medium risk countries also need to go for intense screening.

“We are undertaking a mass communication campaign on good hygiene and effective prevention behaviour. We’d like the people of our country to wash their hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizer for at least 20 seconds,” said the President.

The President closed his address saying, “It is true that we are facing a grave emergency, but if we act together, if we act now if we act decisively, I am sure we can defeat it.”