SUMMARY: Ramaphosa announces COVID-19 controls

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday about the increasing number of people diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus in the country.

READ: What you need to know about coronavirus

Ramaphosa said the situation calls for an extraordinary response and communicated the measures Cabinet has decided to implement to reduce the impact of the virus.

The following travel controls were announced:

  • A travel ban on foreign nationals from high-risk countries will be implemented on 18 March 2020. Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, and China are affected by the ban.
  • Visa issuing to visitors from high-risk countries is cancelled immediately and previously granted visas are revoked.
  • Effective immediately, South African citizens are advised to refrain from all forms of travel to or through the European Union, United States, United Kingdom and other identified high-risk countries such as China, Iran and South Korea.
  • The government will continue to regularly issue travel alerts referring to specific cities, countries or regions as the situation evolves based on the risk level.
  • Any person who has visited high-risk countries in the past 20 days will be denied a visa. South African citizens returning from high-risk countries will be subjected to testing and self-isolation or quarantine on return to South Africa.
  • All travellers who have entered South Africa from high-risk countries since mid-February will be required to present themselves for testing.
  • The government will strengthen surveillance, screening and testing measures at OR Tambo, Cape Town and King Shaka International Airports
  • South Africa has 72 ports of entry in the country which are land, sea and airports. Of the 53 land ports, 35 will be shut down with effect from Monday 16 March. 2 of the 8 seaports will be closed for passengers and crew changes.
  • Effective immediately, all non-essential travel for all spheres of government outside of the Republic is prohibited.
  • The government discourages all non-essential domestic travel, particularly by air, rail, taxis and bus.

The president announced it is also essential to minimise the risk of the spread of the virus by limiting contact amongst groups of people.

READ: Coping with stress during coronavirus outbreak

The government announced the following local controls to encourage social distancing:

  • Gatherings of more than 100 people will be prohibited. Mass celebrations of upcoming national days such as Human Rights Day and other large government events will be cancelled.
  • Where small gatherings are unavoidable, the government stated the organisers will need to put in place stringent measures of prevention and control.
  • Schools will be closed from Wednesday, 18 March, and will remain closed until after the Easter weekend. To compensate, the mid-year school holidays will be shortened by a week.
  • The government is working with colleges, universities, and other public facilities such as Parliament, prisons, police stations & military installations to intensify hygiene control. Visits to all correctional centres are suspended for 30 days with immediate effect.
  • Government is aware of the confirmed case of a student who has tested positive for the coronavirus at Wits University. Those who have been in contact with the student will be quarantined.

- Coronavirus Hotline Number: 0800 029 999 from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday

Help protect your loved ones by sharing this official South African government COVID-19 service with your family, friends and community.

Send HI to 0600 123 456 on WhatsApp.


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