President Cyril Ramaphosa. File picture. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA) 
President Cyril Ramaphosa. File picture. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA) 

Covid-19 update: President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation tonight, says Mthembu

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Mar 23, 2020

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Johannesburg - Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu says President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation tonight on the government’s measures to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mthembu said the time for the address will be made public during the day. The president’s address will deal mainly with “the finalised measures undertaken to mitigate the impact of the virus on our people and the economy”, Mthembu said in a series of tweets on Monday morning. 

Ramaphosa was rumoured to have planned to address the nation on Sunday night, but that was cancelled as he was still engaging a variety of stakeholders, the Presidency said. 

On Sunday, the department of health confirmed that the number of confirmed cases of the virus had increased to 274. The highest cases have been recorded in Gauteng and the Western Cape with KwaZulu Natal trailing in third in confirmed cases. 

There have also been pockets of cases being confirmed in other provinces including the Eastern Cape and the Free State. 

The last time Ramaphosa addressed the nation a week ago he declared a national disaster in response to the surging numbers. This decision led to several regulations being implemented by the government to control public gatherings. Some of these restrictions included minimising gatherings to only 100 or fewer people, schools have closed and no alcohol can be sold after 6 pm on weekdays and 1 pm on Sunday and public holidays. 

Travel restrictions have also been placed on foreign travellers from high-risk countries. There have been growing calls from concerned citizens that more stringent measures need to be put in place including the possibility of a lockdown of the country and for people to self-isolate at home. 

In a statement issued on Monday morning, Ramaphosa said the spread of the virus needed to be contained. 

"We know the truth and what is to be done. We have to contain the spread of the virus. We have to ensure those who need help get it. We have to observe the highest standards of hygiene and practice social distancing. Our success relies on the effort and energies of every citizen and their commitment to help and assist others."

"This crisis will not debilitate our nation. In how we have responded, we have affirmed the true character of our nationhood. It is strong, it is resilient and, above all, it is rooted in solidarity. It is these attributes of our national character that won us our democracy and it is what will ensure our victory over this pandemic," he said. 

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