Coronavirus morning update: Lockdown draws near, staying sober, and the billions at home
The latest number of confirmed cases is 709.
So far, Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal account for the bulk of cases.
Police Minister Bheki Cele has warned any person who contravenes the regulations of the nationwide lockdown from midnight on Thursday will be guilty of a criminal offence and will be liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both.
During a briefing on Wednesday, members of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster clarified what residents would be allowed to do and what has been prohibited during the lockdown which aims to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
News24 has compiled a list of what you can and cannot do.
READ MORE | LIST: The dos and don'ts during the national lockdown
South Africans won’t be able to buy any alcohol during lockdown – supermarket liquor sales are banned as well.
No-one will be allowed to transport alcohol during this time, government announced on Wednesday evening. South Africans will only be allowed to consume alcohol at home - and everything they need for the next three weeks will have to be there by tomorrow night.
Perpetrators found guilty of lockdown offenses will get a fine or six months in jail, or both.
“For 21 days, please stay sober,” said police minister Bheki Cele at a media briefing. He said that the expected decline in accidents and assaults due to the ban on buying alcohol will free up much-needed space in hospitals during the coronavirus crisis.
READ MORE | Sale, transport of alcohol banned. ‘For 21 days, please stay sober.’
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced on Wednesday how provision will be made for essential transport services to continue, including transport for essential staff and patients.
This after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 21-day lockdown on Monday to minimise the spread of the coronavirus which originated in Wuhan, China.
As of Wednesday, South Africa has 709 confirmed cases of Covid-19.
READ MORE | Here is how the national lockdown will affect public transport
Shops will only be allowed to sell food and basic goods during the lockdown, and South Africans won’t be able to shop for non-essentials.
This will cut the time people spend in store as well as the number of people in shops, Ebrahim Patel, minister of trade and industry, said at a media briefing on Wednesday night. Only fifty people will be allowed in a shop at the same time, and they must be one metre apart at all times. Stores will be limited to selling food and essential goods, government announced.
No-one will be allowed to buy clothes – even if the grocery store (for example Woolworths or Pick n Pay) usually sells clothes or homeware. No alcohol will be on sale anywhere during the three weeks.
READ MORE | New restrictions on what stores can sell during lockdown
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE REST OF THE WORLD
For the latest global data, follow this interactive map from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.
Positive cases worldwide are now more than 472 000, while deaths are more than 21 000.
Seven countries, China, Italy, Iran, Spain, Germany, United States, France and Switzerland all have more than 10 000 cases, with the United Kingdom and South Korea not far behind.
Italy has twice as many deaths as any other country, with more than 7 500. Spain also now has more than 3 600 deaths.
More than three billion people have been asked to stay home in almost 70 countries and territories as governments battle the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, according to an AFP tally on Wednesday.
Most of the countries concerned, including Argentina, Britain, France, India and Italy as well as many US states, have imposed mandatory lockdown measures. Others have introduced curfews, quarantines and other social distancing recommendations.
READ MORE | Worldwide lockdowns sees 3 billion stay at home: report
HEALTH TIPS (as recommended by the NICD and WHO)
• Avoid contact with people who have respiratory infections
• Maintain social distancing – stay at least one metre away from somebody who is coughing or sneezing
• Practise frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as your hands touch many surfaces and could potentially transfer the virus
• Practise respiratory hygiene – cover your mouth with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Remember to dispose the tissue immediately after use.