Government to roll out massive Covid-19 testing programme - Ramaphosa

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Mar 30, 2020

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Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa says the government will roll out an extensive field screening programme to get South Africans tested for the coronavirus as the number of Covid-19-infected people has risen to 1326. 

The president has also confirmed that three South Africans have died from the novel coronavirus to date. 

Ramaphosa announced the screening programme on Monday night. He said the programme will see 10 000 field workers visit people's homes to test for the virus in urban and rural areas. 

Those who are found to be infected with the virus, depending on their level of symptoms, will either be allowed to self-isolate at home or a government facility or they will be immediately hospitalised. The testing drive will also include the tracing of contacts which will help hone in on who may be infected with the virus. 

This latest measure comes as the country approaches day five of the national lockdown which is meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus. 

Ramaphosa acknowledged that the impact of the lockdown will have a major impact on businesses and jobs, he highlighted the informal sector and said the government was working on a plan to help those in this sector. 

The president noted and thanked South Africans that had adhered to the lockdown measures, he also noted that some had not adhered to the regulations. 

He cautioned on the tough measures used by law enforcement to force people who transgress the regulations. 

Ramaphosa also said that the recent downgrade by ratings agency Moody's was harsh a reality for the country as it would increase the cost of borrowing. He said this would not impact on the government's fight against the Covid19 virus. 

He thanked various organisations and businesses that have pledged financial support to the government to fight the coronavirus. Businessman Patrice Motsepe and media conglomerate Naspers have donated R1 billion and R1,5 billion respectively. 

"We have never experienced a situation like this before, several mistakes will be made, but we ask for our people's understandings. We will succeed we will take this coronavirus threat seriously and will adapt and act responsibly. If we keep to the path we know we have to take, we will beat this disease."

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend page

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the government's 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999


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