10 key points from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plan for the coronavirus in South Africa

Including the now-iconic elbow greeting.


Yesterday, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a National State of Disaster. Here are the 10 key points from his plan for managing the coronavirus in South Africa.

Related: Should we be stressing about the coronavirus?


So things have gotten serious. But let’s not panic. Knowledge is power and we need to work together to contain the pandemic of COVID-19. Where are things at now? Yesterday, the number of confirmed cases in SA was 61. The affected provinces include Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

There is still no specific anti-viral cure according to the NICD. But there is supportive treatment. What does this mean? While antibiotics do not treat viral infections, they can help with bacterial secondary infections.


1 Serious travel bans

The president has discouraged all domestic travel. So, if you don’t absolutely have to do it, don’t. This includes government.

As for international travel, we’ve been advised to stay away from high-risk countries as of right TF now. These countries include Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, United States, United Kingdom and China.

But what if you’ve already travelled pretty recently? Well, everyone returning from high-risk countries needs to self-isolate and get tested.

Of our 72 ports, 35 will be shut down. In addition, visas from high-risk countries will be cancelled. And from 18 March, there will be a travel ban for foreign nationals from high-risk countries.

Related: Here’s what it’s like to live at the center of the coronavirus outbreak and not be able to go home


2. No gatherings of over 100 people

So this one seems tough. But the rest of the world has already been doing it. Major concerts and sports events have been cancelled on an international scale. Now, we need to follow suit.

Gatherings of more than 100 people are banned. So no big parties or corporate events. Even organisers of smaller events need to be super prepared and have a plan. Or, even better, not have it at all. Social distancing is one of the key tools we have right now.


3. Schools are closing

Yip, from 18 March, schools will be closed. At least until after Easter weekend. Let’s keep our kids safe. Many universities have closed too – and are looking at online options.


4. Businesses to up their hygiene

Ramaphosa has instructed all businesses to intensify hygiene control. Same for shopping centres. Basically, we need more cleanliness all round. Many workplaces have shut down and allowed their employees to work from home.

Related: 5 hand sanitisers to shop now to keep you safe and healthy


5. The elbow move

The handshake needs to become a thing of the past. This is how we greet each other now. Here’s our President to show us how it’s done:

While this is a serious situation, President Ramaphosa’s elbow move demonstration is pretty funny. Social media loved it. And, of course, several short music videos have emerged from it too. Here they are, enjoy!

6. Things YOU can do, as an individual

So, apart from the now-iconic elbow greeting and not shaking hands, here’s what you can do:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds – often
  • Sneeze with a closed hand into a tissue
  • Avoid close contact with those who have flu-like symptoms
  • Stop spreading fake news
  • Practice social distancing
  • If you feel fluey, self-isolate (stay home) and get tested

Related: This website sets your favourite song lyrics to a coronavirus handwashing routine


7. There are now local transmissions too

Initially, cases of coronavirus in South Africa only happened through infected people who had recently travelled overseas. But now, there are confirmed cases of local transmission too. This means the virus is now spreading between South Africans who have not been overseas recently.

As of yesterday, a Wits student tested positive for Covid-19 and has been quarantined, reports the Mail and Guardian. According to the student, it was asymptomatic. The student ‘attended classes last Monday and Tuesday, without knowledge that the student had contracted the virus’.


8. No deaths so far

Some good news, South Africa still has no reported cases of death from the coronavirus. Let’s not forget this.


9. It will drastically affect the economy

The coronavirus will have a big effect on our economy, the president explained. China (and certain European countries) are serious trading partners for SA. And these severely affected countries have seen massive drops in their stock markets, News24 reports.

‘The anticipated effects of the decline in exports and tourist arrivals will be exacerbated by both an increase in infections and the measures we are required to take to contain the spread of the disease. This will have a potentially severe impact on production, the viability of businesses, job retention and job creation,’ said President Ramaphosa.

10. What happens next?

We now have a National command council for the pandemic. It will meet three times a week, chaired by the president. Furthermore, new measures are being considered for things like business labour. In the meantime, it’s up to us to act on this with purpose.

Related: Tom Hanks posts a reassuring message about what coronavirus is like

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