The South African government led by Cyril Ramaphosa has ordered a three-week lockdown from Thursday March 26, as part of measures to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus also known as COVID-19.
President Ramaphosa announced the measure to curb the spread of the disease on Monday in a televised address to the nation after coronavirus cases in the country increased from 274 to 402 on Monday March 23.
He said that the 21-day lockdown will begin at midnight Thursday and he called on the country to “urgently and dramatically” escalate its response.
“Immediate, swift and extraordinary action is required if we are to avoid human costs of this virus,” said Ramaphosa, adding that if the nation failed to act swiftly, it could face “a human catastrophe of enormous proportions.”
He added that the stay-at-home order which will be effective till April 16 does not apply to essential services personnel, including police, health care workers and those involved in the supply of goods, including food.
In nearby Zimbabwe, a 30-year-old journalist identified as Zororo Makamba became the first person in the country to die from COVID-19.
Health Minister, Obadiah Moyo confirmed that the 30-year-old died at Wilkins Hospital in Harare, two days after he was diagnosed with the disease.
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