Implications of nation-wide lockdown

Implications of nation-wide lockdown

On 23 March 2020 President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the National Coronavirus Command Council has decided to enforce a nation-wide lockdown for 21 days with effect from midnight on Thursday 26 March 2020 to midnight on Thursday 16 April 2020.  

This means that all South Africans will have to stay at home.  There are however categories of people who will be exempted from this lockdown.  This include, amongst others, people involved in the production, distribution and supply of food, as well as supermarkets.

Read more at https://sacoronavirus.co.za/ and see the full statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

This decision should be seen against the backdrop that the number of COVID-19 cases has escalated from 160,000 to over 340,000 confirmed cases across the world.  In South Africa, the number of confirmed cases has increased six-fold in just eight days from 61 cases to 402 cases.  According to the President, the nation-wide lockdown will be enacted in terms of the Disaster Management Act and will entail the following: 

  • From midnight on Thursday 26 March 2020 until midnight on Thursday 16 April 2020, all South Africans will have to stay at home. 
  • The categories of people who will be exempted from this lockdown are the following: health workers in the public and private sectors, emergency personnel, those in security services – such as the police, traffic officers, military medical personnel, soldiers – and other persons necessary for our response to the pandemic. It will also include those involved in the production, distribution and supply of food and basic goods, essential banking services, the maintenance of power, water and telecommunications services, laboratory services, and the provision of medical and hygiene products. A full list of essential personnel will be published. 
  • Individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except under strictly controlled circumstances, such as to seek medical care, buy food, medicine and other supplies or collect a social grant. 
  • Temporary shelters that meet the necessary hygiene standards will be identified for homeless people. Sites are also being identified for quarantine and self-isolation for people who cannot self-isolate at home. 
  • All shops and businesses will be closed, except for pharmacies, laboratories, banks, essential financial and payment services, including the JSE, supermarkets, petrol stations and health care providers. 
  • Companies that are essential to the production and transportation of food, basic goods and medical supplies will remain open. 
Take a look on a map

Take a look on a map

Coronavirus is a fast-moving infection originating in China. It has spread to more than 145 countries and claimed more than 6,400 lives.

There are now more cases around the world than there are inside China, where the spread of new cases has slowed down in recent days. Italy, so far, has the highest number of confirmed infections outside China.

This map helps us to understand whereto it has spread thus far

A rise in the number of daily confirmed cases of the new coronavirus internationally has led the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare its spread a global pandemic.

This is when an infectious disease is passing easily from person to person in many parts of the world at the same time.

In response to the virus’s spread, countries around the world are ramping up measures to try to slow it down.

Governments have halted flights from virus-hit nations, locked down towns, urged people to stay at home, and suspended major sporting and social events.

So far, the official numbers seemed to suggest that sub-Saharan Africa, home to more than 1 billion people, had been lucky. The interactive map of reported COVID-19 cases run by Johns Hopkins University shows big red blobs almost everywhere except sub-Saharan Africa.

 

But now the numbers are rising quickly. South Africa, which had its first case 10 days ago (8 March 2020), now has 61. According to Ramaphosa, the virus has begun spreading inside the country. And just yesterday, Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea, and Namibia all reported their first cases, bringing the number of affected countries to 23. Some scientists believe COVID-19 is circulating silently in other countries as well. “My concern is that we have this ticking time bomb,” says Bruce Bassett, a data scientist at the University of Cape Town who has been tracking COVID-19 data since January.

How to protect yourself

How to protect yourself

Coronavirus has spread to more than 145 countries or territories and claimed more than 6,400 lives.

HOW TO STAY SAFE
The best thing is regular and thorough hand washing, preferably with soap and water since Coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs small droplets – packed with the virus – into the air. These can be breathed in, or cause an infection if you touch a surface they have landed on then you touch face, accidently transmitting the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. Thus, coughing and sneezing into tissues, not touching your face with unwashed hands, washing your hands often and avoiding close contact with infected people are important for limiting the spread.

So,

  • wash hands frequently with soap and water or use a sanitiser gel
  • catch coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues
  • throw away used tissues
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • avoid close contact with people who are unwell

 

What are the coronavirus symptoms?

Coronavirus infects the lungs. The symptoms start with a fever followed by a dry cough, which can lead to breathing problems.

It takes five days on average to start showing the symptoms, scientists have said, but some people will get symptoms much later than this.

The incubation period lasts up to 14 days, the World Health Organization (WHO) says. But some researchers say it may be up to 24 days.

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