President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for national unity to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.
This comes after the number of coronavirus cases in South Africa rose to 116, an increase of 31 cases from Tuesday. The latest cases are 16 in Gauteng, three in KwaZulu-Natal, two in Mpumalanga and 10 in the Western Cape. There are no deaths reported.
There are nearly 200 000 cases across the globe and close to 8 000 people have died.
PresidentRamaphosa says he met with leaders of political parties on Wednesday morning.
President @CyrilRamaphosa is, this morning, meeting with leaders of political parties represented in Parliament at Tuynhuys to discuss the national response to the #CoronaVirusSA outbreak. pic.twitter.com/8NEFqzPkKN
— PresidencyZA (@PresidencyZA) March 18, 2020
He says, “I felt the need that we all get together and confront this virus together and fight together on the same side and make sure that we save the lives of our people. We already have 116 people who have the virus, it is spreading but it is necessary that we close ranks to ensure that in the end together we are able to defeat this virus.”
“We all agree that our country finds itself in an extreme situation that requires extraordinary measures but that also requires that we should find a way of working together. So that we work with unity of purpose and solidarity, as well as partnership, ” he adds.
The President has also called on people to refrain from panic bulk-buying, as thousands take to retail stores to stock-pile on basic necessities following a rise in coronavirus cases.
Videos are doing the rounds on social media platforms, of people stocking up on goods, such as hand-sanitizers, toilet paper, and non-perishable items.
He has called on people to reduce their alcohol consumption, in efforts to reduce the chances of coronavirus infections.
President Ramaphosa says, “We should ensure that there is no unnecessary physical contact and excessive alcohol use, as it increases the chances of infection. Taverns, nightclubs and all that, announcements will be made in this regard by government. We call on all citizens to refrain from making excessive purchases. It is important to know that the supply of good remains continuous in SA, supply chains remain intact and there is no need for stockpiling of any items.”
On Sunday, President Ramaphosa announced a raft of measures to try and contain the spread of the coronavirus in South Africa, including declaring the pandemic a national state of disaster.
He says this will help in combatting the spread of the virus.
He says Cabinet has decided to enforce travel bans on foreign nationals from high-risk countries such as Italy, Iran, Spain, South Korea, the United States, UK, Germany, and China.
This ban is effective from 18 March 2020.
Ramaphosa also announced that South African citizens that have visited high-risk countries in the last 20 days will undergo heavy testing and will be required to self-isolate for 20 days. He further urged South Africans to limit travel to high-risk countries.