South Africa goes on 21-day national shutdown from Thursday

South Africans watch the President address the nation declaring a national lockdown.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the country will be placed under a temporary lockdown for 21 days in order to control the spread of coronavirus, only allowing for essential personnel and those needing medical care to leave their homes for a limited period of time.

“The action we are taking now will have lasting economic costs. But we are convinced that the cost of not acting now would be far greater,” Ramaphosa said.

The lockdown will come into effect from midnight on March 26 to midnight on April 16.

Essential personnel includes doctors, nurses and police, while other citizens will only be allowed to leave their houses under strictly-controlled circumstances. 

Ramaphosa said all shops and businesses will be closed, barring pharmacies, laboratories, banks, essential financial services, supermarkets, petrol stations as well as healthcare providers.

A full list of companies that should remain open will be announced soon.

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