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- Published: Wednesday, 25 March 2020 19:26
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TALKING POINTS: 21 DAY NATIONAL LOCKDOWN COVID-19
24 March 2020 @14:00
A 21-day national lockdown has been declared.
The lockdown will begin on the evening of Thursday 26 March 2020 at 23:59. The lockdown will remain in force for 21 days. All South Africans will have to stay at home until midnight on Thursday 16 April 2020. The categories of people exempted from this lockdown are as follows: o Health workers in the public and private sector, o Emergency personnel, o Security services – such as the police, traffic officers, military medical personnel, soldiers and, o Other persons necessary for our response to the pandemic. It will also include those involved in the production, distribution and supply of food and basic goods, essential banking services, the maintenance of power, water and telecommunications services, laboratory services, and the provision of medical and hygiene products.
Will I be able to leave my house?
There is no need for panic, as lockdown does not mean a shutdown. People will still be allowed to get to shops and access essential goods and services but in small numbers. It is up to all of us to minimise our movement. Only undertake essential trips outside your home such as to get food, seek medical care or access supplies. When leaving your home try and go out alone, plan your trip and get in and out of your destination as quickly as possible. Practice hygiene when you go out, wash your hands when leaving home, do so again at your destination and before you depart for home.
What about homeless people and those who cannot self-quarantine?
Temporary shelters that meet the necessary hygiene standards will be identified for homeless people. Sites are also being identified for quarantine and self-isolation for people who cannot self-isolate at home.
We are all in this together
All sectors and citizens are working well together to fight the Coronavirus and we must continue to do so. Aggressive containment measures are essential to ensure that the virus does not spread any further. Please continue to exercise caution and avoid unnecessary travel.
We call on everyone to cooperate with government and other sectors to implement the measures.
What services will remain open?
Most shops and businesses will be closed. The police, metro police, military and emergency services will continue to operate. Health care services such as hospitals, clinics, doctors, pharmacies and laboratories will remain open. Banks and essential financial and payment services, including the JSE will remain open. Supermarkets will remain open so that citizens can continue to care for themselves and their families. Petrol stations will remain open. Companies that are essential to the production and transportation of food, basic goods and medical supplies will remain open.
We are expanding efforts to contain the virus.
This nationwide lockdown will be accompanied by a public health management programme which will significantly increase screening, testing, contact tracing and medical management. Community health teams will focus on expanding screening and testing where people live, focusing first on high density and high-risk areas. South African citizens and residents arriving from high-risk countries will automatically be placed under quarantine for 14 days. Non-South Africans arriving on flights from high-risk countries will be turned back. International flights to Lanseria Airport will be temporarily suspended. International travellers who arrived in South Africa after 9 March 2020 from high-risk countries will be confined to their hotels until they have completed a 14-day period of quarantine.
A number of economic interventions are being put in place.
We have set up a Solidarity Fund, which South African businesses, organisations and individuals, and members of the international community, can contribute to. The Fund will focus efforts to combat the spread of the virus, help us to track the spread, care for those who are ill and support those whose lives are disrupted. The Fund has a website – www.solidarityfund.co.za – and contributions can be deposited via the fund. The Fund will be administered by a reputable team of people, drawn from financial institutions, accounting firms and government. To get things moving, government is providing seed capital of R150 million and the private sector has already pledged to support this fund with financial contributions. We will be spending money to save lives and to support the economy. We must applaud the commitment made in this time of crisis by the Rupert and Oppenheimer families of R1 billion each to assist small businesses and their employees affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
We are assisting businesses. We will be assisting businesses in the informal sector such as spaza shops.
Registration is now open, on www.smmesa.gov.za, for small and medium-sized businesses that require help during the coronavirus crisis. The department of Small Business Development has a debt-relief fund for small businesses. Small businesses affected by the outbreak of the coronavirus will be required to produce proof of negative impact as a result of COVID-19. We will further be assisting small businesses to avert job losses through the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA). Government has urged malls and retailers to consider rent and payment holidays to tenants negatively affected by the lockdown.
There is no need to stockpile food.
Government calls on everyone in the country to avoid panic buying. We are aware that many South Africans are worried about the impact of the coronavirus on essential supplies and food in the country. As government, we are doing everything we can to ensure that we have enough food and all essentials we need. Government has had discussions with manufacturers and distributors of basic necessities, who have indicated that there will be a continuous supply of these goods. Let us be considerate and responsible to ensure that we have enough for everyone especially the most vulnerable in our society.
Our social safety net remains in place.
All grants will continue to be paid. To alleviate congestion at payment points, old age pensions and disability grants will be available for collection from 30 and 31 March 2020, while other categories of grants will be available for collection from 01 April 2020. All channels for access will remain open, including ATMs, retail point of sale devices, Post Offices and cash pay points.
Let us stand and face this together.
The actions we are taking will challenge us as a nation. But we are convinced that the cost of not acting now would be far greater. In the days, weeks and months ahead our resolve, our resourcefulness and our unity as a nation will be tested as never before. Let us all play our part and ensure that we emerge stronger and more united.
You are not alone!
It is important that you stay connected via the phone, social media or email. Maintain your networks and speak to friends or family regularly. Keep doing enjoyable and relaxing activities such as reading, pc, board or card games, social networking or watching television. Stay informed by getting the facts, not rumours or fake news. Engage children in your care in creative ways; create fun learning activities, play games and try to keep their daily routine going. Stay active by doing simple exercises within your home or garden. Or create an exercise plan specifically to suit your environment.