Coronavirus News Africa

LIVE | Ramaphosa declares national disaster, announces strict measures to deal with Covid-19 crisis


2020-03-15 06:00

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation as the number of coronavirus cases in SA increases.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses


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The President announced a number of guidelines on the Covid-19 virus, which include:

Travel – All non-essential international and local travel should be avoided and travellers from high risk countries will not be allowed to enter the country.

Public – Public gatherings of more than 100 people are prohibited.

Schools – Schools will be closed from 18 March 2020 until after the Easter weekend.

Testing – All of those who have visited high risk countries in the past 14 days are requested to test for the virus.

Isolation – Self isolation is suggested for anyone who is not critically ill but presents with mild symptoms.

Prevention – Please follow prevention suggestions and keep contact with others to a minimum

Social distancing measures include:

Gatherings of more than 100 people will be prohibited.

Mass celebrations of upcoming national days such as Human Rights Dayand other large government events will be cancelled.

Where small gatherings are unavoidable, organisers will need to put in place stringent measures of prevention and control.

Schools will be closed from Wednesday, 18 March, and will remain closed until after the Easter Weekend. To compensate, the mid-year school holidays will be shortened by a week.

Government is working closely with colleges, universities and other public facilities such as Parliament, prisons, police stations and military installations to intensify hygiene control.

Visits to all correctional centres are suspend for 30 days with immediate effect.

Dutch close schools, bars as Portugal limits gatherings

The Dutch government on Sunday ordered the closing of all schools, bars, restaurants, sex clubs and cannabis cafes in a bid to fight the spread of the new coronavirus.

Queues quickly built up at “coffee shops” where cannabis is sold after the announcement, which follows pressure on the government to follow the lead of other European countries.

Portugal announced Sunday it was limiting gatherings to no more than 100 people in a bid to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The restriction will apply to both indoor and outdoor locations and it comes into effect immediately, Interior Minister Eduardo Cabrita told a news conference.


Germany stakes claim to vaccine

Germany staked its claim Sunday to ongoing work into a vaccine against the coronavirus, after media reports claimed US president Donald Trump was trying to poach research from a German company.

“The German government has a strong interest in producing vaccines in Germany and Europe,” a spokesperson for the economy ministry told media group Funke.

The ministry also pointed out that the government had the power to scrutinise foreign takeovers of German companies, “especially when it comes to national or European security”.

According to a report in the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, Trump is trying to secure exclusive rights to a potential vaccine against the global health threat that has now killed some 6,000 people, which is being worked on by biotech firm CureVac.

The vaccine would then be “only for the United States,” a source close to the German government told Die Welt, whose front page on Sunday read “Trump vs Berlin”.

Yet a US official told AFP Sunday that the report was “wildly overplayed”.

Nike closes stores

Multinational sporting goods seller Nike will close its stores in the US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand for 11 days starting Monday in response to the coronavirus pandemic, it said in a statement received Sunday by AFP.

Nike stores in South Korea, Japan and much of China will remain open, however, the statement said.It added that its online sales would continue as usual.On Friday, the company had encouraged its US-based employees to work from home if possible.

Nike has roughly 25,000 employees in the United States and more than 70,000 worldwide.

Kenya announces strict measures

Kenya unveiled a series of strict measures to curb coronavirus on Sunday, blocking entry to the country to all except citizens and residents and shutting schools as the number of confirmed cases rose to three.

In an address to the nation President Uhuru Kenyatta said two people who had come into contact with a 27-year-old Kenyan patient “have tested positive” and been moved into an isolation facility.

“The government is suspending travel for all persons coming into Kenya from any country with reported Coronavirus cases,” he said.

“Only Kenyan citizens and foreigners with valid resident permits will be allowed to come into the country provided they proceed on self-quarantine or in a government quarantine facility.”


Olympic discussions

With less than five months to go before the Tokyo Olympics, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach plans emergency talks with member organisations, sources close to the IOC said on Sunday. 

The IOC plans a conference call on Tuesday to “keep the international federations informed of the situation, as well as the National Olympic Committees and athletes,” one source close to the IOC told AFP. 

The IOC “will take stock of the actions taken” to respond to the coronavirus crisis “and the federations will have the opportunity to ask questions” added a source close to one international sports federation.

The IOC “conducts a regular dialogue with all the Olympic partners and regularly informs them of the situation,” added an IOC spokesperson. 

Libya, Austria restrict movement

The UN-recognised government in divided and war-torn Libya has said it will close from Monday land borders under its control in the west to keep out the coronavirus.

The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) said air links would also be suspended, even if to date no cases of the Covid-19 illness have been reported by it or by a rival administration based in the country’s east.

Austria meanwhile tightened restrictions on public life on Sunday, banning gatherings of more than five people and restricting any movement to that which is absolute necessary, saying police would enforce the rules in a bid to halt the spread of coronvirus.

The tougher measures were decided at an extraordinary session of parliament, during which Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called on the population to self-isolate, only move out of doors when absolutely necessary and limit contacts to “the people they live with”.



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