STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA ON SOUTH AFRICA’S RESPONSE
TO THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
UNION BUILDINGS, TSHWANE
23 APRIL 2020
My Fellow South Africans,
It has been precisely seven weeks for the reason that first case of the coronavirus was confirmed in our
nation. Since then, all our lives have modified in basic methods. As a nation we have now been compelled to take aggressive motion towards an invisible enemy that threatened our lives and the lives of our family members.
We’ve been compelled to adapt to a brand new way of life, in a brief house of time.
As we enter the fifth week of an unprecedented nation-wide lockdown – and as we glance to
the long run – we must always bear in mind why we’re right here.
The novel coronavirus, which was recognized within the Chinese language metropolis of Wuhan in December final
12 months, has unfold quickly the world over. To this point, over 2.6 million confirmed circumstances have been reported worldwide. The precise variety of folks contaminated is more likely to be far larger.
The coronavirus causes the illness often known as COVID-19, a respiratory sickness for which
people presently don’t have any immunity and for which there isn’t a recognized remedy. The coronavirus is handed from individual to individual in small droplets from the nostril and mouth
that may be transmitted by direct contact, on surfaces we contact or when an contaminated particular person
coughs or sneezes when they’re shut to a different particular person.
Most contaminated folks exhibit solely delicate signs; some don’t present any signs in any respect.
However there are individuals who develop extreme signs and require hospitalisation.
These are often older folks and people who undergo from underlying situations reminiscent of
coronary heart illness, diabetes, continual respiratory illness and most cancers.
For a few of these folks, COVID-19 is deadly.
The world over, greater than 185,000 folks have succumbed to the illness.
Right here in South Africa, at the least 75 folks have misplaced their lives.
As a result of the coronavirus can unfold so quickly by way of a inhabitants, it will probably overwhelm even
the best-resourced well being system inside a matter of weeks. That is what has occurred in lots of nations the world over, and it’s exactly what we, as
South Africa, have gone to nice lengths to forestall.
Only a few well being techniques the world over – if any – are ready for a sudden and
exponential enhance in folks requiring therapy for a extreme respiratory sickness.
Consequently, if the virus spreads too rapidly, there usually are not sufficient hospital beds, intensive
care items, ventilators, private safety gear or medication for everybody who wants
To make issues worse, people who find themselves affected by different situations or want emergency
procedures are unable to get the care they want.
And in such circumstances, many lives that might have been saved, are misplaced.
I’m reiterating these fundamental details – which by now are in all probability acquainted to a lot of you –
as a result of they clarify the actions we have now taken up to now and so they inform the measures I’m
saying this night.
From the second we declared the coronavirus pandemic to be a nationwide catastrophe on
Sunday 15 March, our goal was to delay the unfold of the virus.
We’ve sought to keep away from a large surge in infections and an uncontrollable enhance within the
variety of folks needing medical care.
Our method has been primarily based on the ideas of social distancing, restriction of motion
and stringent fundamental hygiene practices.
By delaying the unfold of the virus, we have now had time to arrange our well being services and
mobilise a few of the important medical provides wanted to fulfill the inevitable enhance in
And it’s in so doing, that we hope to save lots of tens of hundreds of lives.
There may be clear proof that the lockdown has been working.
Along with the opposite measures we have now taken – reminiscent of closing our borders – and the
modifications in behaviour that every of us has made, the lockdown has slowed the development of
the pandemic within the nation.
The World Well being Group has counseled South Africa for performing swiftly and for
following scientific recommendation to delay the unfold of the virus.
But, whereas a nation-wide lockdown might be the simplest means to include the
unfold of the coronavirus, it can’t be sustained indefinitely.
Our folks have to eat. They should earn a residing. Corporations want to have the ability to produce
and to commerce, they should generate income and preserve their workers in employment.
We’ve accordingly determined that past Thursday 30 April, we must always start a gradual and
phased restoration of financial exercise.
We’ll implement a danger adjusted technique by way of which we take a deliberate and cautious
method to the easing of present lockdown restrictions.
We’ve selected this method as a result of there may be nonetheless a lot that’s unknown concerning the
price and method of the unfold of the virus inside our inhabitants.
The motion we take now should subsequently be measured and incremental.
This method is guided by the recommendation from scientists who’ve suggested that an abrupt and
uncontrolled lifting of restrictions may trigger a large resurgence in infections.
We can not take motion at the moment that we’ll deeply remorse tomorrow.
We should keep away from a rushed re-opening that might danger a variety, which might have to be
adopted by one other exhausting lockdown, as has occurred in different nations.
We’ve to steadiness the necessity to resume financial exercise with the crucial to include the
virus and save lives.
To attain this, we have now developed an method that determines the measures we must always
have in place primarily based on the path of the pandemic in our nation.
As a part of this method, there will probably be 5 coronavirus ranges:
Degree 5 implies that drastic measures are required to include the unfold of the virus to save lots of
Degree four implies that some exercise might be allowed to renew topic to excessive precautions
required to restrict group transmission and outbreaks.
Degree three entails the easing of some restrictions, together with on work and social actions, to
handle a excessive danger of transmission.
Degree 2 entails the additional easing of restrictions, however the upkeep of bodily distancing
and restrictions on some leisure and social actions to forestall a resurgence of the virus.
Degree 1 implies that most traditional exercise can resume, with precautions and well being tips
To make sure that our response to the pandemic might be as exact and focused as potential,
there will probably be a nationwide stage and separate ranges for every province, district and metro within the
We’re presently at Degree 5, which requires a full nationwide lockdown to include the unfold of
That is the best stage of lockdown and was imposed when drastic motion was essential to
The Nationwide Coronavirus Command Council will decide the alert stage primarily based on an
evaluation of the an infection price and the capability of our well being system to supply care to
those that want it.
We’ve undertaken an in depth train to categorise the totally different elements of the economic system
in response to the danger of transmission in that sector, the anticipated influence of the lockdown, the
financial contribution of the sector and the impact on livelihoods.
The related Ministers will present an in depth briefing on the classification of industries and
how every is affected at every stage.
We’ll give all trade our bodies a chance to think about these particulars and, ought to they
want, to make submissions earlier than new rules are gazetted.
The Nationwide Coronavirus Command Council met earlier at the moment and decided that the
nationwide coronavirus alert stage will probably be lowered from stage 5 to stage four with impact from Friday
the first of Might.
Which means some exercise will probably be allowed to renew topic to excessive precautions to
restrict group transmission and outbreaks
Some companies will probably be allowed to renew operations below particular situations.
Each enterprise should adhere to detailed well being and security protocols to guard their
workers, and office plans will probably be put in place to allow illness surveillance and
stop the unfold of an infection.
All companies which are permitted to renew operations will probably be required to take action in a phased
method, first making ready the office for a return to operations, adopted by the return of the
workforce in batches of not more than one-third.
In some circumstances, a sector will be unable to return to full manufacturing throughout Degree four whereas the
danger of an infection stays excessive.
These will probably be spelt out subsequent week following a last spherical of consultations.
Companies will probably be inspired to undertake a work-from-home technique the place potential.
All workers who can work remotely have to be allowed to take action.
The related Ministers will present particulars on the method for the phased re-opening of
colleges and different instructional establishments.
As we regularly ease the restrictions, it’s mandatory that lots of the measures to include
the unfold of the virus stay in place.
When the nation strikes to stage four on 1 Might:
Our borders will stay closed to worldwide journey, apart from the repatriation of South
African nationals and international residents.
No journey will probably be allowed between provinces, apart from the transportation of products and
distinctive circumstances reminiscent of funerals.
Public transport will proceed to function, with limitations on the variety of passengers and
stringent hygiene necessities, together with that each one passengers should put on a face masks.
The general public is inspired to remain at residence, apart from for important private motion,
doing important work and work in sectors which are below managed opening. Individuals can
train below strict public well being situations.
All gatherings, aside from funerals and for work, will stay prohibited.
Those that are aged, and people with underlying situations, should stay at residence and take
further precautions to isolate themselves.
The sale of cigarettes will probably be permitted.
The vary of products which may be offered will probably be prolonged to include sure further
classes. These will probably be detailed by the related Ministers.
You will need to notice that a number of restrictions will stay in place whatever the stage of
alert for so long as the danger of transmission is current:
Bars and shebeens will stay closed.
Convention and conference centres, leisure venues, cinemas, theatres, and concert events
will stay closed.
Concert events, sporting occasions, and spiritual, cultural and social gatherings is not going to be allowed
till it’s deemed protected for them to proceed.
The coronavirus is unfold by contact between folks.
If folks don’t journey, the virus doesn’t journey.
We all know, for instance, that only one funeral in Port St Johns and one spiritual gathering in
Mangaung contributed to a spate of infections of their respective provinces.
From the proof we have now, we all know that 75 % of confirmed coronavirus circumstances are
present in simply six metro municipalities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Cape City, Buffalo Metropolis,
Ethekwini and Mangaung.
It’s subsequently important that we do every thing in our means to limit the motion of
folks and – though it runs counter to our very nature – to scale back the contact that every of
us has with one another.
Finally, it’s our personal actions, as people, that can decide how rapidly the virus
If all of us adhere to directions and comply with public well being tips, we’ll preserve the virus
below management and won’t have to reinstate probably the most drastic restrictions.
We are able to stop the unfold of coronavirus by doing a couple of easy issues.
Wash your arms incessantly with cleaning soap and water or use an alcohol primarily based sanitiser.
Preserve a distance of a couple of metre between your self and the subsequent particular person, particularly
those that are coughing and sneezing.
Attempt to not contact your mouth, nostril and eyes as a result of your arms could have touched the
coronavirus on surfaces.
Once you cough or sneeze cowl your mouth and nostril together with your bent elbow or a tissue,
and get rid of the tissue straight away.
As we start the easing of lockdown restrictions from the start of Might, we’re calling on
all South Africans to put on a face masks everytime you go away residence.
Our clothes and textile trade – together with many small companies – are gearing as much as
produce these masks on a mass scale.
The extraordinary measures that we have now put in place to fight the coronavirus pandemic
have been matched by the extraordinary contributions of many South Africans.
We pay tribute to them, the nurses, the docs, the scientists and the group screening
area staff who’re main our public well being response.
We’re dedicated to making sure that they’ve all of the sources they want – together with
ample private safety gear and different recognition – to undertake the work that
is being requested of them.
As we slowly ease the lockdown restrictions, we’re considerably and quickly growing our
public well being response.
We’ve already seen an enormous enhance in group screening and testing.
Guided by recommendation from the World Well being Group and the Africa Centres for Illness
Management and Prevention, we have now joined different African nations in inserting mass screening
and testing on the centre of the subsequent part of our response.
Earlier within the week, I introduced an extra allocation of R20 billion to our well being
response to make sure that we have now the beds, medication, gear and personnel required
when the nation experiences the height of infections.
This night, I additionally wish to pay tribute to those that are offering important companies and
items – the truck, taxi, bus and practice drivers; the employees on farms, in shops, at energy
stations, at water crops, at petrol stations, in banks and in name centres; the regulation enforcement
officers and safety personnel.
It’s due to your efforts that we have now been in a position to make such precious progress in
combating this pandemic.
As a part of increasing this effort, I’ve employed over 70,000 defence pressure personnel to
help with numerous elements of our coronavirus response.
Till now, these defence pressure members which have been deployed have supported the South
African Police Service of their obligations.
They may proceed to take action, however they may even be offering help in different important
areas, reminiscent of the supply of water provide, infrastructure upkeep and well being
It is a essential second in our battle towards the coronavirus.
It’s a time for warning.
It’s a time to behave responsibly.
It’s a time for endurance.
There is no such thing as a one who doesn’t wish to return to work.
There is no such thing as a firm that doesn’t wish to re-open.
There is no such thing as a pupil who doesn’t wish to return to their research.
But, we’re all referred to as upon, at a while in our lives, to make nice sacrifices for our personal
future and for the way forward for others.
There are occasions once we should endure hardship and problem, in order that we will take pleasure in freedom
and prosperity into the long run.
Throughout the previous 5 weeks, we have now demonstrated to your entire world what a nation can
obtain with braveness, willpower and solidarity.
We should not quit now.
I’m asking you to remain sturdy.
I’m asking you to stay united.
Keep residence, keep protected.
Thanks for all that you’ve completed and proceed to do.
Might God bless South Africa and shield her folks.