If we stick to the path we have to take, we will overcome the difficulties posed by the lockdown and the COVID-19 epidemic. These were the words of Pres Cyril Ramaphosa in his address to the nation on Monday evening 30 March.
Ramaphosa was speaking to the nation on the eve of what he called a new phase in the fight against the novel Coronavirus. He announced that in the coming days, 10 000 health workers will start a process of screening, testing and tracing those who have been in contact with the virus.
“Health workers will visit homes in cities and villages to screen people for possible infection. Those with low-grade symptoms will be asked to isolate at home or be placed in a government isolation facility. Those with serious symptoms will be admitted to hospital,” he said.
The President added that the economic downgrade of the country’s investment status will not impede the government’s spending in the fight against the deadly virus.
He reiterated that those who do not yet comply with the rules and regulations of the lockdown are placing themselves and others at risk.
The basics of the lockdown are:
You are allowed to:
- Collect social grants
- Buy food
- Seek medical attention
- Visit a pharmacy for medicine
- Attend gatherings of max 50 people for a funeral
- Access public transportation for essential services
You are prohibited from:
- Jogging/walking in public. Where people live in a complex it is up to the management to ensure that people who are outside their homes practice social distancing
- Walking your dog in public. You may also not take your dog for a ride in the car
- Buying alcohol
- Moving between provinces and districts
People are also prohibited from spreading fake news. This means statements made with the intention to deceive and include the following:
Disinformation: information that is false and deliberately created to harm a person, social group, organisation or country for the purpose of influencing public opinion or obscuring the truth.
Misinformation: information that is false but not created to cause harm or mislead readers.
Mal-information: the deliberate publication of private information for personal or private interest, as well as the deliberate manipulation of genuine content. Fake news can be reported at firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp 067 966 4015. A link to where the post, article or document is located must be included. This direction came into effect on 26 March 2020 and will remain in effect for the duration of the COVD-19 disaster period.
The issue on the sale of cigarettes had not been resolved at the time of going to press. After a ban on the sale of cigarettes was announced, several districts indicated that they would allow it in order to prevent the creation of black-market sales. Masizole Mnqasela, speaker of the Western Cape Government and Member of the Provincial Parliament for the Overberg, said in a statement on Sunday that the sale of cigarettes will be allowed. It was expected that the government would make an announcement regarding the issue.
According to Brig Donovan Heilbron, SAPS Cluster Commander for the Overberg, residents who do not have a perimeter fence at the front of their gardens are allowed in their garden but may not go onto the pavement.
He also stated that employers are responsible for the transport of essential workers to and from their places of work, it is against the law for families or friends to transport workers. If you’re driving a private car and your car can carry 5 people (including the driver), only 3 people will be allowed in the car (the driver and 2 passengers). Buses and taxis can only carry 50% of their licensed capacity.
Police Minister Bheki Cele has warned that any person who contravenes the regulations of the nationwide lockdown will be guilty of a criminal offence and will be liable for a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both.