President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday through the National Coronavirus Command Council has announced a nationwide lockdown to be enacted in terms of the Disaster Management Act for 21 days.
He said from midnight on Thursday, March 26 until midnight on Thursday, April 16, 2020, all South Africans would have to stay at home.
President Ramaphosa said in a monitored telecast that individuals would not be allowed to leave their houses except under strictly controlled circumstances, such as to seek medical care, buy food, medicine, and other supplies or collect a social grant.
He said other categories to be exempted from this lockdown are healthcare workers in public and private sectors, emergency personnel and those in security.
He said full lists of telecom services, laboratory services and provision of medical and hygiene products would be published in due course.
Also include those involved in the production, distribution, and supply of food and basic goods, essential banking system, the maintenance of power and water.
President Ramaphosa said other categories to be exempted from this lockdown are healthcare workers in public and private sectors, emergency personnel and those in security.
President Ramaphosa said the government would act very strongly against any corruption and profiteering from the crisis and would work with the judiciary to expedite action against those implicated and make sure the guilty go to jail.
He assured that the South African Reserve Bank has proactively provided additional liquidity to the financial sector ensuring that the system operates well during this pandemic.
Other restrictions escalated earlier include restricted international travels, prohibited gatherings of more than 100 people, closed down schools and other educational institutions and restricted sale of alcohol after 1800 hours.
He said a week ago only 61 cases were confirmed and that has increased to over 700 by today (Thursday).