- President Cyril Ramaphosa has laid out South Africa's plans for tackling the coronavirus Covid-19
- He announced a sweeping set of measures limiting public gatherings, closing schools and cancelling national celebration events
- The virus is one of South Africa's greatest challenges but Ramaphosa has reassured the people that this would pass and the country will recover
After a long delay, Ramaphosa took to the podium and announced a sweeping set of measures to combat the virus, Covid-19.
The nation has been eager to hear from the government as fear has begun to spread after the Department of Health announced that 51 people have tested positive for the disease.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has addressed South Africa regarding the situation regarding the outbreak of Covid-19 and the measures the country is going to take.
"The world is facing a medical emergency, far graver than what we have experienced in over a century"
"Given the scale and the speed at which the virus is spreading, it is now clear no country is immune or will be spared."
"Since the start of the outbreak, SA has put measures in place to screen visitors coming into the country."
"So far SA has 51 confirmed cases, but we are expecting that number to rise. This calls for serious measures."
"We have decided to take urgent and drastic measures to manage this disease and reduce the impact on our society."
Briefly.co.za learned that cabinet has decided the following:
Limit contact between persons who may be infected.
We've cancelled visas from certain countries.
SA citizens urged to refrain from travel through all high-risk countries effective immediately.
35 land ports to be shut down from Monday. Effective immediately all non-essential travel for all spheres of government outside the country prohibited.
Plans to strengthen screening and testing measures at international airports will be implemented.
The following measures will be put in place according to Ramaphosa:
There will be a travel ban on foreign nationals from high-risk countries which includes: Italy, US, China and Iran.
Ramaphosa has urged South Africans not to travel through any of the areas which are currently regarded as high risk, with immediate effect.
Ramaphosa has included plans for social distancing:
Gatherings of more than 100 people will be prohibited, celebrations of large national days will be cancelled and schools will be closed from Wednesday (18 March) and will remain closed until after the Easter weekend.
A change in behaviour is being encouraged to slow the spread, which includes the regular washing of hands, coughing into a tissue or the flexed elbow to reduce spreading the infection. People who are showing symptoms of either a cold or the flu should be avoided and people must exercise caution when coming into contact with people.
A national command council will be established and meet 3 times a week.
We have decided to establish a national command council and will meet 3 times a week to coordinate all aspects of this emergency response. - Ramaphosa
Ramaphosa has urged South Africans not to give in to fear or panic and to refrain from spreading any news which may not be accurate.
While we are facing a medical emergency far graver than we have experienced in recent times, we are not helpless. - Ramaphosa
The president reassured South Africans that we are not alone, the expertise and knowledge exist to fight the disease and South Africa has friends in the international community who can assist.
The disease poses a threat to the economy and is likely to be extremely disruptive.
Ramaphosa took the opportunity to thank the people of Limpopo for hosting the quarantined South Africans who returned from Wuhan and the staff at The Ranch for their efforts.
The president has reassured South Africans that this will pass and it is up to the people of this great country who will decide how long it will take for this to pass and for the country to recover.
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