The latest: President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a three-week total shutdown after government projections suggested the number of positive cases will go into the tens of thousands in just a few weeks if left unchecked.
What this means for you: All South Africans will have to stay at home from Thursday and will only be allowed to go out under strictly controlled circumstances to buy food, seek medical care, medicine, and other supplies or collect a social grant.
The exceptions: Emergency services, health workers, traffic officers, security services, banking services, soldiers, laboratory services, and businesses involved in supplying and producing food and basic services, like food and medication are exempt from this rule.
What about businesses: Businesses that may continue an operation will include pharmacies, laboratories, banks, essential finance systems, such as the JSE, supermarkets, petrol stations, healthcare providers, and companies involved in making or distributing food, basic goods, and medical supplies. Read more
No need for ‘panic buying’: Regulations has been put in place to prohibit unjustified price hikes, to ensure shops maintain adequate stocks of basic goods and to prevent people from ‘panic buying’. The government has had discussions with manufacturers and distributors of basic necessities, who have indicated that there will be a continuous supply of these goods. There is therefore no need for stockpiling of any items.
A Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund: To mitigate the impact on business, especially smaller enterprises, a fund was set up, which invited members of the public to put money into it to assist vulnerable people. If it comes to it, the government will use funds in the unemployment compensation fund to assist smaller businesses. Read more
The role of the army: The government will be deploying the army to ensure the enforcement of its new plan, as enacted in terms of the Disaster Management Act.
Emergency services: Provision will be made for essential transport services to continue, including transport for essential staff and for patients who need to be managed elsewhere. Emergency water supplies – using water storage tanks, water tankers, boreholes, and communal standpipes – are being provided to informal settlements and rural areas.
Public health management: Community health teams will focus on expanding screening and testing where people live, focusing first on high density and high-risk areas. To ensure that hospitals are not overwhelmed, a system will be put in place for ‘centralised patient management’ for severe cases and ‘decentralised primary care’ for mild cases.
Economic measures: A range of economic measures will be put in place, including an exemption for commercial banks from provisions of the Competition Act to enable them to develop common approaches to debt relief and other necessary measures. Read more
What about the homeless? Ramaphosa said temporary shelters are being identified to house homeless people, people in need of quarantine, and those who are unable to self-isolate in their own homes.
Collecting pensions: Old-age pensions and disability grants will be available for collection from 30 and 31 March, while other categories of grants will be available for collection from 1 April. All channels for access will remain open, including ATMs, retail point of sale devices, Post Offices, and cash pay points.
For the needy: Citizens who earn R6 500 per month or less will pay R500 per month less tax for the next four months. This will help over 4 million workers. Read more
Travelling: South African citizens and residents arriving from high-risk countries will automatically be placed under quarantine for 14 days. International flights to Lanseria Airport will be temporarily suspended.