South African president declares national state of disaster after rise in coronavirus cases
Christian Fernsby | ▼ March 16, 2020
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday declared a national state of disaster following a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases.
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Topics: SOUTH AFRICA DISASTER CORONAVIRUS
Never has the country been confronted by such a crisis as the number of coronavirus cases rose to 61, the president said in a televised address to the nation. The country reported its first case on March 5.
Ramaphosa announced a travel ban on countries seriously affected by the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. > From March 18, travel from high risk countries will be prohibited, the
The president said South Africa now has internal transmissions, without giving specified figures.
This is the first time that the country has reported locally transmitted cases.
Ramaphosa said schools will be closed on March 18 and gatherings of more than 100 people have been prohibited.
Government events have been cancelled, he added.
Ramaphosa said the pandemic will seriously affect the country's economy.
"In the last few weeks, we have seen a dramatic drop in economic activity," he said.
It is clear that this disease will be disruptive, he added.
The president also announced some other measures to contain the pandemic. For instance, nonessential domestic travel of all modes of transport is discouraged.
The president recommended that South Africans use the elbow greeting.
He urged the public not to panic. "We cannot allow ourselves to be controlled by fear and panic," he said. ■ What to read next
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