South Africa is introducing a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. “From midnight on Thursday, March 26, to midnight on Thursday, April 16, all South Africans must stay at home,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Citizens are still allowed to buy food or leave their home for a medical appointment.
The government has also decided that virtually all stores should close. An exception is made for pharmacies, banks, supermarkets, petrol stations and some institutions.
International travellers who have arrived from risk countries since March 9 are required to be quarantined at their hotel for a fortnight. The army is deployed to support the police.
In South Africa, 402 people have so far been diagnosed with the coronavirus. The president said in a speech that drastic measures are needed to prevent the virus from spreading further around him.
He acknowledged that the lockdown will have a major social impact, but also said it does not outweigh the negative consequences of waiting.
Not everyone should stay indoors in the coming weeks. Ramaphosa says an exception is being made for emergency personnel, medical personnel and members of the security forces.