Staff members work as media visit the Microbiology Laboratory of the University Hospital, CHUV, during the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, outbreak in Lausanne, Switzerland, Monday, March 23, 2020. The Swiss authorities proclaimed on March 16, a state of emergency in an effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus and Covid-19 disease. The government declared that all entertainment and leisure businesses will shut down. Grocery stores, and hospitals will remain open and new border controls will be put in place.  (Denis Balibouse/Keystone via AP, Pool)
Staff members work as media visit the Microbiology Laboratory of the University Hospital, CHUV, during the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, outbreak in Lausanne, Switzerland, Monday, March 23, 2020. The Swiss authorities proclaimed on March 16, a state of emergency in an effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus and Covid-19 disease. The government declared that all entertainment and leisure businesses will shut down. Grocery stores, and hospitals will remain open and new border controls will be put in place. (Denis Balibouse/Keystone via AP, Pool)

Coronavirus lockdown: Public health management programme to increase testing and screening

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Mar 23, 2020

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Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa says the nationwide lockdown he announced on Monday night would be accompanied by a public health management programme to ensure an increase in screening and testing for the coronavirus.

Ramaphosa announced the lockdown, to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, which begins at midnight on Thursday, March 26 and will end on April 16. It can be extended, if deemed necessary. 

The lockdown comes as South Africa’s confirmed cases now stand at 402. Ramaphosa said these measures were needed to ensure that hundreds of people were spared from possible infection. 

The president said community health teams will be put in place to ensure screening takes place.

“Community health teams will focus on expanding screening and testing where people live, focusing first on high density and high-risk areas. To ensure that hospitals are not overwhelmed, a system will be put in place for centralised patient management’ for severe cases and ‘decentralised primary care’ for mild cases,” he said. 

The president also announced that a Solidarity Fund will be created to help those in need of financial support during the lockdown period. He said that business, members of the international community and ordinary South Africans can contribute to the fund. The fund will be chaired by Gloria Serobe and Adrian Enthoven. 

“The fund will focus efforts to combat the spread of the virus, help us to track the spread, care for those who are ill and support those whose lives are disrupted. 

The fund will complement what we are doing in the public sector,” he said. 

Ramaphosa said the Rupert and Oppenheimer families had contributed R1 billion to assist small businesses and their employees affected by the pandemic. 

"In this regard, we must applaud the commitment made in this time of crisis by the Rupert and Oppenheimer families of R1 billion each to assist small businesses and their employees affected by the coronavirus pandemic. We are concerned that there are a number of businesses that are selling certain goods at excessively high prices. This cannot be allowed," he said. 

The government has pledged R150m “seed capital” towards the fund and Ramaphosa said some members of the public sector have promised to contribute money towards the fund.

Political Bureau 

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