President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a 21-day total lockdown on the 56m inhabitants of South Africa, telling them that sweeping measures were necessary to avoid a “catastrophe of huge proportions.”
South Africa has recently overtaken Egypt as the country with the most cases in Africa, the number rising to 402 on Monday according to the minister of health.
“The numbers will continue to rise. It is clear that … we need to urgently and dramatically escalate our response,” Ramaphosa told the nation.
International flights to some major airports have been suspended and strict new quarantine regulations will be imposed.
These measures follow the declaration of a national disaster last week which closed schools and called for social distancing.
The lockdown will be enforced by the police and the army.