Coronavirus in SA: Rand strengthened briefly following Ramaphosa's announcement
JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday declared a national state of disaster in South Africa and announced school closures and travel bans as the number of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) infections in the country rose to 61.
In a televised addressed to the nation, Ramaphosa said that, worryingly, South Africa had now experienced its first cases of domestic transmission of the virus whereas, up to the weekend, all people who had tested positive had done so upon return from abroad.
"Initially, it was people who had travelled out of the country, especially from Italy, who had positively tested for the virus. It is concerning that we are now dealing with internal transmission of the virus," he said.
Bianca Botes, Treasury Partner at Peregrine Treasury Solutions said, "
The Federal Reserve cut interest rates yet again during the overnight session, sending most markets into a tailspin. The rand strengthened briefly to R16.04 as the dollar came under pressure, but widespread investor panic and the risk-off environment quickly saw it weaken back to current levels."
According to Botes, latest industrial production and retail sales figures in China have dropped significantly year-on-year in January-February 2020.
The day began trading at 16.30/$ 18.11/€ and 20.11/£.
South Africa would impose a travel ban from China, Germany, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Spain, and the United States from Wednesday, and South Africans were, with immediate effect, to refrain from travelling to the United Kingdom, Europe, the US, China, and South Korea.
Any foreign national who had visited any country considered to be in the high risk category would be denied a visa to travel to South Africa.
Ramaphosa said the government would update travel restrictions on a regular basis. South Africans who visited high risk areas from mid-February onwards would be obliged to report to health authorities for testing for COVID-19, which had now infected more than 162,000 worldwide.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE