President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

LIVE FEED: President Cyril Ramaphosa's latest update on coronavirus outbreak

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Mar 23, 2020

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Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa is addressing the nation on Monday night as pressure mounts on the government to put in place more stringent measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. 

On Monday, the Department of Health confirmed that the number of confirmed cases of the virus had increased to 402 from 274 cases on Sunday.

The highest cases have been recorded in Gauteng -  207 infections, the Western Cape - 100, and in KwaZulu Natal - 60. 

The three provinces account for more than 91% of recorded confirmed cases in South Africa. 

Meanwhile, there have also been pockets of cases being confirmed in other provinces including the Free State - 13, Mpumalanga - 9, North West - 4, Limpopo - 4, Eastern Cape  - 2, and the Northern Cape - 2. 

Last Sunday, when Ramaphosa last addressed the nation, he declared a state of national disaster in response to the surging numbers. This decision led to several regulations being implemented by the government to control public gatherings. 

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Some of these restrictions included minimising gatherings to only 100 or fewer people, schools have closed and no alcohol can be sold after 6pm on weekdays and 1pm 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 practise social distancing and self isolation at home. 

These calls have also been combined with calls for government relief for citizens that would feel the biggest impact of the economic consequences of the spread of the virus and its limitations on movement and operations of businesses. 

Ramaphosa said citizens should continue the spirit of empathy and selflessness. 

He said he would be meeting with several other stakeholders this week after he met with religious leaders and opposition political party leaders last week. 

"But as the South African nation, we are standing firm. As we navigate our way through the difficult times that lie ahead, we must continue in the spirit of empathy and selflessness and move with unity of purpose. The social compacts of which I have spoken are needed now as never before. Of these, the social compact between citizens and their government is the most important of all," Ramaphosa said. 

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