- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday declared a state of emergency, and ordered the closure of schools for three weeks.
- South Africa’s Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday that the pandemic is progressing rapidly.
- About 650 cases have already been confirmed in 34 countries on the continent.
The South African government on Thursday put into place a new law that provides for up to six months’ imprisonment for any citizen found guilty of spreading false information regarding the new Coronavirus pandemic. South Africa has 202 cases of people infected with Coronavirus and it is the most affected country in sub-Saharan Africa.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday declared a state of emergency, and ordered the closure of schools for three weeks. Ramaphosa has also banned visits to the country by citizens from the countries most affected by the Coronavirus. The law states that:
Any person who publishes any statement, through any medium, including social media, with the intention to deceive any other person about: Covid-19; Covid-19 infection status of any person; or Any measure taken by the government to address Covid-19, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both such fine and imprisonment.
South Africa’s Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Thursday that the pandemic is progressing rapidly. The new Coronavirus has infected more than 235,000 people worldwide, of whom more than 9,800 have since died. So far, no deaths have been reported in South Africa.
WHO says Coronavirus Evolving “Extremely Fast” in Africa
The director of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Africa said on Thursday that the covid-19 pandemic has an “extremely rapid evolution” on the continent, at a time when fears of a new alarming front of the disease are growing. Ten days ago, only five countries had detected infections with the new Coronavirus. However, at the moment, according to Matshidiso Moeti, about 650 cases have already been confirmed in 34 countries.
“It is an extremely rapid evolution,” he stressed. Matshidiso Moeti was addressing journalists during a joint briefing with the World Economic Forum and attended by WHO representatives from Senegal and South Africa.
So far, many African countries have announced the closure of their borders following the pandemic. Senegal closed its airspace, while Angola and Cameroon closed air, land, and sea borders. Rwanda suspended commercial flights for a month, and Mauritius closed its borders after the first case was announced.
Chad announced its first case, and Mauritania imposed a curfew between 8 pm and 6 am and closed cafes and restaurants. Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, has decided to close schools, and all religious events will be restricted in Lagos, a metropolis with more than 20 million inhabitants.
In Kenya, the Nation’s President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the closure of schools throughout the East African nation as a measure to curb the spread of the pandemic. Kenya has so far reported four cases of people affected by Coronavirus in the country.