President Cyril Ramaphosa during a joint media briefing with leaders of faith based communities following a meeting on the national response to the Coronavirus outbreak held today, 19 March 2020, at the Sefako M. Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Tshwane. Picture: GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa during a joint media briefing with leaders of faith based communities following a meeting on the national response to the Coronavirus outbreak held today, 19 March 2020, at the Sefako M. Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Tshwane. Picture: GCIS

South Africa now has 150 confirmed coronavirus cases - Ramaphosa

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Mar 19, 2020

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Johannesburg - The number of confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus now stands at 150, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Thursday afternoon. 

The latest numbers have risen by 34 from Wednesday's 116 confirmed cases, which were announced by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. 

Ramaphosa made the announcement of the latest infections during a meeting with religious leaders in Pretoria on Thursday. 

Ramaphosa declared a national disaster on Sunday and on Wednesday, Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma gazetted new regulations which will be used to deal with the coronavirus and those who may refuse testing or treatment. 

Under new regulations, no one within the country is allowed to refuse testing or treatment for coronavirus. 

The regulations also placed a ban on alcohol sales at clubs, pubs, restaurants and liquor stores between 6pm and 9am between Monday and Saturday, and between 1pm and 9am on Sundays and public holidays. 

The regulations also said people who intentionally infected others with coronavirus or spread fake news about the virus, could be fined and/or imprisoned for upto six months.

Meanwhile, the president said the role of religious organisations could not be understated. He said these institutions needed to help government in fighting the spread of Covid-19. 

"We are emboldened to carry on the work we are doing because we are supported by the churches," Ramaphosa said. 

He praised churches that had announced various measures which would be in line with regulations announced by the government. The Zion Christian Church (ZCC) announced that all its events related to its annual pilgrimage to Moria in Limpopo had been cancelled. 

The Methodist Church had also announced the cancellation of Easter events and the Muslim organisations had announced the cancellation of Friday prayers. 

Ramaphosa said these measures should be commended. 

He said no organisation would be immune to the rule of under 100 people per gathering and that religious leaders were encouraged to inform their congregants that plan on hosting funerals and weddings.

Religious leaders, from all sectors including the Muslim faith, the Nazareth Baptist Church (Shembe) and the Dutch Reformed Church and the Methodist Church all pleaged their support for the government. 

There had been reports of some religious leaders vowing to defy the ban on gatherings of more than 100. This move has been criticised following the president's meeting. 

Political Bureau

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