Last night, the president announced a national lockdown to fight the spread of the coronavirus. So get cosy, guys, it’s time to isolate. Here are the new rules everyone in SA has to follow. We’re in this together. Remember physical distancing but social solidarity.
The specific rules and some additions
There’s been some confusion around jogging and dog-walking. So, just to be 100% clear: this is not allowed. I repeat, no jogging or dog-walking during the lockdown. Here are some other things to bear in mind, according to Daily Maverick:
- No jogging, dog-walking, cycling or hiking
- Trains and buses will not operate (except for transporting essential workers)
- Taxis and Ubers may only be used for buying essential goods or getting medical help. Essential service workers may use them from 5am to 9am and again from 4pm to 8pm.
- No malls, markets, parks, public pools and beaches
- Churches, temples, mosques will be closed
- Restaurants and hotels will be closed
- There will no takeaway services (no UberEats, guys)
- Courier services for essential goods only
- No liquor sales – at all, including from grocery stores
- You may buy food at the shop closest to your home.
- If what you’re looking for is unavailable at the closest shop, you can try a more distant shop BUT you must be able to explain your reasons when you get stopped by the police
- The number of people in stores will be restricted when buying basic goods.
- Home Affairs will only issue temporary IDs, birth and death certificates. Everything else must wait.
- Funerals are restricted to 50 people, but this number might still change.
- No night vigils.
A 21-day lockdown
Many of us saw this coming, but it’s still a shock to the system. So let’s break it down. The lockdown will last for three weeks. And it starts this Thursday, 26 March at midnight until 16 April 2020.
What happens during this time? We stay at home. No gatherings at all. So set up your work-from-home space, light some incense or cue the Netflix and actually chill. To stop the spread of this virus, we need to be disciplined. The next few days are crucial.
Some exemptions to the lockdown
There are some exceptions. Obviously, we still need to eat and get medication. So essential services will continue. The following people and businesses will continue as normal:
- Grocery stores
- Healthcare workers
- Emergency personnel
- Security services
- Electricity suppliers
- Water and sanitation services
- The ICT sector (data centres, fibre, towers)
Here’s the full list of businesses exempt from lockdown, should you want to know more.
Rules will be enforced by the police
You won’t be allowed to leave your house unless you are buying food or medical supplies (shopping malls will be closed). The police will be enforcing this. And the army has been deployed to help uphold the rules. Soldiers will help with roadblocks, road closures and searches. Yip, it’s that dire, so don’t try it.
She said that despite photographs circulating of soldiers in unusual areas, official deployment has not yet happened. Currently, soldiers are only moving into place.
‘Without decisive action, the number of people infected will rapidly increase from a few hundred to tens of thousands, and within a few weeks to hundreds of thousands,’ said President Ramaphosa.
As for work, if you can work from home, our president urges you please carry on working from home. Keep busy, guys.
What about travellers?
It’s pretty serious. SA residents coming from high-risk countries will be quarantined for two weeks. All international flights from Lanseria are suspended. And international travellers will be turned back. So, in other words, stay put. Now is clearly not a good time to fly.
Thank you, Mr President
President Ramaphosa delivered the speech calmly, decisively and under enormous pressure. We thank him for his leadership during this time of crisis. It can’t be an easy job rn and he’s holding it together. Containing the spread of the virus is particularly important in South Africa, he explains:
‘This is extremely dangerous for a population like ours, which has a large number of people with suppressed immunity because of HIV and TB, and high levels of poverty and malnutrition.’
There are currently 554 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Africa. Corona testing and treatment will continue, and the state is prioritising high-risk areas.
You can watch the full address here
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