Tuesday | 31 March | 2020
Reon Janse van Rensburg
On Monday evening president Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the government will roll out a large-scale campaign to test every South African for the Covid-19 virus.
Ramaphosa’s speech followed a meeting with the National Command Council in Pretoria.
According to Ramaphosa, South Africa is entering a new phase of the lockdown. During the following couple of days 10 000 medical workers will begin to test South Africans for the coronavirus (Covid-19). The President also announced that mobile technology will be introduced and utilised to trace any persons who have been in contact with an infected person or persons and the technology is also monitoring the geographic location of new cases.
The measures are a drastic effort by the government to combat the virus and to prevent a point being reached where the health system could be overwhelmed. These drastic steps are also being taken due to the first confirmed cases of the virus having been reported in low-income areas in both Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The medical workers will refer those with symptoms to local clinics for testing. People who are positive and experience light symptoms, can be placed in quarantine at home or in government facilities, while people with more severe symptoms will be admitted to hospitals.
“The testing of people is a far-reaching step. It is intensive and unknown in terms of scale” – President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa told South Africans that he understands the disruption that the lockdown is causing in their lives and on the economy, but he again emphasised that the measure is necessary and also made an appeal to citizens to stand fast for the next 17 days.
The downgrading by Moody’s Investor Service has placed further pressure on the economy and according to Ramaphosa it will increase the costs to borrow significantly, which causes a negative impact on the economy.
However, the President also emphasised that the decision by Moody’s will not have any effect on the government’s reaction to the coronavirus pandemic thus far, and will not diminish or influence it.
Ramaphosa said that the government will continue with structural economic reforms to address the weak economic growth, struggling undertakings that are government-owned and the restriction of public finances.
The President said that the government is particularly concerned about the distress of enterprises and is urgently busy developing extra measures to support them.
Ramaphosa thanked workers in the various industries which are considered essential, for their service and hard work during the lockdown period.
Ramaphosa is also full of confidence that even in the uncertain times which South Africans are now experiencing, we will be victorious.
He also encouraged South Africans to leave their homes only if necessary and only for legitimate reasons as prescribed.
“We have never before experienced such a situation and some mistakes will be made, but we ask that people will understand that all decisions are made for the benefit of all but I am convinced that we will succeed, because we will take this threat of the coronavirus seriously, we will adjust as a society, and all of us will act responsibly” – President Cyril Ramaphosa.
* All information was correct at the time of publication.