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Coronavirus: SA president announces 21-day lockdown

BBC.COM
South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa
South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced in a live televised address that there will be a nationwide lockdown from midnight on Thursday in order to control the outbreak of coronavirus.

It will last for 21 days.

This means that all South Africans are required to "stay at home except for essential purposes", a tweet from the president's office says.

Explaining the imposition of a three-week lockdown, Mr Ramaphosa has said that "the next few days are crucial" in combatting the spread of coronavirus.

There are currently 402 cases in the country, which is a six-fold increase from just eight days ago, the president said in a live televised address. 

"Those countries that have acted swiftly and dramatically have been far more effective in controlling the spread of the disease,"

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he added. 

Announcing the conditions of the lockdown that is due to start at midnight South African time (22:00 GMT) on Thursday, Mr Ramaphosa said:

Individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except under strictly controlled circumstances

All shops and businesses will be closed except those providing essential services

Temporary shelters will be set up for the homeless

Medical and security personnel will be exempt from the lockdown

"We must do everything within our means to reduce the overall number of infections and to delay the spread of infection over a longer period," the president added.



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