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World South Africa begins three-week coronavirus lockdown

03:20  27 march  2020
03:20  27 march  2020 Source:   bbc.com

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South African security forces have begun enforcing a three - week nationwide lockdown in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus . All but essential movement is forbidden and both the army and the police are enforcing the measures. Ahead of the midnight deadline there were long queues outside

South Africans prepare for three - week lockdown Jump to media player South Africa will go into a 21-day lockdown against the coronavirus at midnight on 26 March.

Slideshow by photo services

South African security forces have begun enforcing a three-week nationwide lockdown in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

All but essential movement is forbidden and both the army and the police are enforcing the measures.

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  Queen Elizabeth II to address UK over coronavirus Queen Elizabeth II is planning to address the United Kingdom as the nation struggles to contain the spread of the coronavirus. © Provided by Washington Examiner The Royal Family released a statement on Friday announcing that the queen would address the country in a televised broadcast on Sunday. The address will be carried on radio and over social media, as well. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

Ahead of the midnight deadline there were long queues outside supermarkets as people stocked up on essentials.  

South Africa has reported 927 coronavirus infections - the highest in Africa - but so far no deaths.

Late on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa visited soldiers before they were deployed from a base in the Soweto township of Johannesburg.

"I send you out to go and defend our people against coronavirus," he said, wearing a camouflage uniform.

  • No alcohol, no dog walks - lockdown in South Africa
  • South Africa braces for the worst

"This is unprecedented, not only in our democracy but also in the history of our country, that we will have a lockdown for 21 days to go out and wage war against an invisible enemy, coronavirus." 

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Food shops are allowed to stay open although alcohol sales are banned - Police Minister Bheki Cele urged South Africans to stay sober during the lockdown. Jogging and dog walking are also prohibited.

a group of people standing next to a man: President Cyril Ramaphosa greeted troops prior to their deployment © EPA President Cyril Ramaphosa greeted troops prior to their deployment

On Thursday, heavy traffic was reported on the main roads out of Johannesburg, despite a government appeal not to go on long journeys.  

Thousands of people thronged bus stations aiming to escape the capital and stay with family in rural areas, raising fears that they could take the virus to older relatives who are retired in farms and villages.

The authorities have warned that anyone violating the rules faces six months' imprisonment or a heavy fine.

"If people are not complying, they (the military) may be forced to take extraordinary measures," Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula warned.

a man and a woman standing on a sidewalk: Police in Johannesburg had already made arrests in the early hours of Friday © AFP Police in Johannesburg had already made arrests in the early hours of Friday a drawing of a face © BBC
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South Africa has already closed schools and banned gatherings of more than 100 people.

Although Africa as a whole has not been hit as hard as other parts of the world by the virus, experts fear underfunded health services on the continent could be quickly overwhelmed by a sudden rise in cases.

In South Africa there are additional fears for people living with HIV - particularly the estimated 2.5 million in South Africa who are not taking anti-retroviral drugs.

Queen Elizabeth II to address UK over coronavirus .
Queen Elizabeth II is planning to address the United Kingdom as the nation struggles to contain the spread of the coronavirus. © Provided by Washington Examiner The Royal Family released a statement on Friday announcing that the queen would address the country in a televised broadcast on Sunday. The address will be carried on radio and over social media, as well. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

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