President Ramaphosa has announced tonight that the National Lockdown will be extended for another 2 weeks and that the rules shall remain the same.
“At midnight tonight, it will be exactly two weeks since our country entered into an unprecedented nation-wide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus,” thepresident continued, “For your cooperation, for your commitment and above all for your patience, I wish to thank you personally. I wish to thank you for reaffirming to each other and to the world that we South Africans are a people who come together and unite at moments of great crisis.”
Since South Africa has entered into the lockdown, the number of coronavirus cases per day have decreased to about 4%. Before the lockdown, the number of coronavirus cases per day were 42%. This is a decrease of 38%.
On 27 March there were 1 170 confirmed cases in South Africa and the confirmed cases are standing at 1 934 today. Two weeks ago, there were 340,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the world. There are over 1.5 million confirmed cases worldwide now and over 90,000 people across the world have died from this disease.
“After careful consideration of the available evidence, the National Coronavirus Command Council has decided to extend the nation-wide lockdown by a further two weeks beyond the initial 21 days. This means that most of the existing lockdown measures will remain in force until the end of April,” said President Ramaphosa.
The president stated that the extension of the lockdown should not be taken lightly and that the government is “determined to pursue a path that both saves lives and protects livelihoods.”
The three-part strategy is as follows:
– Firstly, an intensified public health response to slow down and reduce infections.
– Secondly, a comprehensive package of economic support measures to assist businesses and individuals affected by the pandemic.
– Thirdly, a programme of increased social support to protect poor and vulnerable households.
“Over the next two weeks, we will roll out the community screening and testing programme across all provinces, focusing in particular on highly vulnerable communities,” the president continued, “Those who test positive and cannot self-isolate at home will be isolated at special facilities that have been identified and are now being equipped.”
The president also said that the Unemployment Insurance Fund has set aside R40 billion to help employees who will be unable to work, as part of the effort to prevent jobs losses as a result of the lockdown.
President Ramaphosa also announced: “The Industrial Development Corporation has set aside R3 billion for the procurement of essential medical supplies.
It has already approved R130 million in funding and expects to approve a further R400 million in the coming week to companies who applied for funding under this special facility.
The Small Enterprise Finance Agency has approved the postponement of loan repayments for a period of 6 months.
The small business debt relief and business growth facilities are currently adjudicating applications for assistance.
There is a total of R500 million available in support.
Government has reprioritised R1.2 billion to provide relief to smallholder farmers and to contribute to the security of food supply.”
The President, Deputy President, Ministers and Deputy Ministers will donate a third of their salaries to the Solidarity Fund for the next three months.
“As we walk this road together, as we struggle to defeat this pandemic, we remain strong and united and resolved. Much is being asked of you, far more than should ever be asked. But we know that this is a matter of survival, and we dare not fail. We shall recover. We shall overcome. May God bless South Africa and protect her people. I thank you.”