Coronavirus 2019: South Africa kicks-off three-week lockdown

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South Africa

South African security forces have begun enforcing a three-week nationwide lockdown as part of efforts aimed stemming the spread of the coronavirus in that country which has registered some cases of COVID-19.

Duaglobalnews reports that alll but essential movement is forbidden while the army and the police are enforcing the measures.

Ahead of the midnight deadline, there were long queues outside supermarkets as people thronged commercial outfits to stock up on essentials to cope with the effects of the lockdown.

South Africa has reported 927 coronavirus infections – the highest in Africa – but so far no deaths.

Late on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa visited soldiers before they were deployed from a base in the Soweto township of Johannesburg.

The president, camouflage uniform told the soldiers:“I send you out to go and defend our people against coronavirus.
“This is unprecedented, not only in our democracy but also in the history of our country, that we will have a lockdown for 21 days to go out and wage war against an invisible enemy, coronavirus.”

The online medium gathered though food shops are allowed to stay open, alcohol sales are banned while the Police Minister, Bheki Cele South Africans to stay sober during the lockdown.
Our correspondent also gathered that jogging and dog walking are also prohibited during the period.

On Thursday, heavy traffic was reported on the main roads out of Johannesburg, despite a government appeal on people not to embark on long journeys.

Thousands of people thronged bus stations aiming to escape the capital and stay with family in rural areas, a development that raised fears that such people could take the virus to older relatives retired in farms and villages.

The authorities have warned that anyone that violatesthe the rules faces six months imprisonment or a heavy fine.

“If people are not complying, they (the military) may be forced to take extraordinary measures,” Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula warned.

Reminiscent of happening in Nigeria and other African nations, South Africa has
closed schools and banned gatherings of more than 100 people.

Although Africa as a whole has not been hit as hard as other parts of the world by the virus, experts fear underfunded health services on the continent could be quickly overwhelmed by a sudden rise in cases.

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