Cape Town – Nearly 57 million South Africans awoke to the reality of the first of a 21-day national lockdown this morning, with the visible presence of the police and the army enforcing unprecedented restrictions countrywide.
In certain instances, there were still South Africans that needed reminding that this is a state of emergency, with a curfew in place after the stroke of midnight, and that you need to "stay at home" to help "flatten the curve" – unless you have been granted special dispensation to roam around.
There were reports that in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, for example, several people had been arrested just after midnight for disregarding the laws pertaining to the possession and sale of alcohol.
The Sea Point Promenade in Cape Town was deserted this morning. Usually busy with people jogging, cycling or walking their dogs, it was a positive sign that Capetonians were intending to obey the law – though it's still early days.
Western Cape Traffic chief Kenny Africa said all major routes into the province would be closed to prevent non-essential traffic, with traffic flowing freely on the N1 this morning.
A deserted Sea Point Promenade this morning. Picture: Facebook / SABC
Twitter users were already adjusting to this new of life: some with a sober acceptance of the frightening impact the coronavirus could have on the country if allowed to run rampant and others with humour, a survival tool at the best of times.
For Luke Waltham, the seriousness of the situation South Africa and the world find themselves in was epitomised by President Cyril Ramaphosa wearing soldier gear in addressing the nation last night.·
%%%twitter https://twitter.com/hashtag/21daysLockdownSA?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#21daysLockdownSA pic.twitter.com/eMTBl8BXIP
— Nkosi Scott (@Muskidd)
"This is the first time in our democracy of South Africa where our President has to wear his Commander in Chief soldier attire as he orders the army to lockdown South Africa and protect us from the invisible enemy, corona virus. #21daysLockdownSA," Waltham posted.
The practically minded @FabAcademic was already handing out tips on #survivingtheLockdown.
%%%twitter https://twitter.com/hashtag/21daysLockdownSA?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#21daysLockdownSA pic.twitter.com/qf2OzOwx0R
— relebohile (@Relo87)
"Number 1: wake up at the same time you do on a normal day and prepare yourself as if you are going to work. This is my first day of working from home."
Rami Chuene posted: "We are here now. May we find each other again when this is over. Please stay home. Keep safe. God bless us all."
— HXMZX (@Hxmzx__11)