- “No one will be allowed to leave their homes except in exceptional circumstances,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced.
- South African authorities suspended public rail and bus services, further restricting road transport of people to half capacity per vehicle.
- The African continent has so far registered 87 deaths due to the new coronavirus, with more than 3,200 cases of infections in 46 countries.
South Africa recorded its first two deaths from coronavirus on Friday. “This morning, we wake South Africans up with sad news that we now have our first deaths resulting from COVID-19,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in a statement. On Friday, South Africa started three weeks of general confinement across the country.
“No one will be allowed to leave their homes except in exceptional circumstances,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced. Ramaphosa had announced earlier restrictions on Monday.
“All shops and businesses will be closed, except for pharmacies, laboratories, banks, essential financial and payment services, including the JSE, supermarkets, petrol stations and health care providers. Companies that are essential to the production and transportation of food, basic goods and medical supplies will remain open. We will publish a full list of the categories of businesses that should remain open.”
The African continent has so far registered 87 deaths due to the new coronavirus, with more than 3,200 cases of infections in 46 countries. Several countries have adopted preventive measures, including quarantine regimes and border closures.
Public Transport Suspended
As a way of containing the pandemic, the South African authorities suspended public rail and bus services, further restricting road transport of people to half capacity per vehicle, including the driver. The minibus taxi, principal means used by the South African population responsible for the daily transport of about 20 million people, are allowed to operate only between 05:00 and 09:00, and between 16:00 and 22:00. However, local television showed long queues of users in stations and halts of vans taxi after 09:00.
In the northeast of the country, thousands of Mozambicans are congesting the Lebombo border (also known as the Komatipoort border) to leave South Africa, the public channel SABC reported. The province of Gauteng, surrounding Johannesburg and the engine of South Africa’s economy, with a quarter of the population of 57 million people, is the epicenter of the pandemic on the African continent. Over 400 positive cases of covid-19 have been confirmed there by the South African authorities.
The new coronavirus, responsible for the covid-19 pandemic, has already infected 585,000 people worldwide. Of these, nearly 27,000 have died, and more than 131,000 have recovered. After appearing in China in December, the outbreak spread across the world, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare it a pandemic situation.
The European continent, with almost 275,000 infected and 16,000 dead, is the one where the highest number of cases is currently emerging. Italy is the country in the world with the most fatalities, with more than 9,000, and more than 86,000 cases recorded to date. Spain has the second most number of deaths, at nearly 5,000, and more than 64,000 confirmed cases of infection.
After Italy, Spain, and China (3,292 deaths, 81,340 cases) are Iran (2,378 deaths, 32,332 cases), France (1,995 deaths, 32,964 cases), and the United States (1,477 deaths, 96,968 cases).
The United States surpassed Italy and China for the most recorded cases in the world, with more than 85,000 cases. That number increased by more than 11,500 on Friday.