RUSTENBURG, March 30 – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is hopeful the country will overcome the coronavirus outbreak despite the country recording its third Covid-19 death and confirmed cases increasing to 1,326.
In a televised speech on Monday, Ramaphosa called on residents to adhere to the lockdown regulation in a bid to arrest the rapid spread of Covid-19.
“We are entering a new phase, in the coming days government will be rolling out screening, testing on a huge scale. Health workers will be visiting villages and towns to test people for Covid-19,” he said.
“Around 10,000 field workers will be visiting homes in villages, towns and cities to screen residents for Covid-19 symptoms. People with symptoms will be referred to local clinics or mobile clinics for testing.
“People who are infected with coronavirus, but who have no or moderate symptoms will remain in isolation at home or at a facility provided by government and those with severe symptoms will be transferred to hospitals.”
He said the next 17 days of the three-week lockdown would be difficult. Ramaphosa declared a national lockdown last week to stop the spread of Covid-19.
“This is an extreme measure we had to embargo upon in respond to the coronavirus pandemic. As government, we are aware that the lockdown has caused great disruption to all our lives and caused upheaval in our economy.
“But we all know and agree that this nation-wide lockdown is absolutely necessary to save the lives of thousands, even tens of thousands, of our people.
Many countries on our continent and in our own region SADC have embarked on similar measures,” he said.
He said worldwide there 740,000 people infected and over 35,000 people have lost their lives.
“The health systems of many countries, including hospitals and clinics, are under tremendous stress as they deal with the pandemic. Our own researchers and scientists have told us that our decision to lock down the country was a correct one.
“They were concerned that without quick action we were only a few weeks away from a similar situation to other countries that have been adversely affected. That is why we took the radical step of locking down the country for 21 days.”
He urged people not to leave their homes, except if they need to get food and essential provisions, collect a social grant, buy medicine or get urgent medical care.
“But I am convinced that we will succeed, because we will take this coronavirus threat seriously, we will adapt as a society, and we will all act responsibly,” he said.
“The only people who can go to work are health workers, security and emergency personnel, those who work to keep our people supplied with food, medicine and basic goods and other providers of essential services as defined in the regulations.
“If you do have to go out, make sure you do everything you can, not to get infected and not to infect anyone else. Some people may think this disease is something that doesn’t concern them and will never affect them.”
– African News Agency (ANA)