Taking necessary precautions and giving South Africans enough time to prepare, the lockdown came into effect on Thursday night and will be enforced by the police and military.
A short list of key workers will be exempt from the lockdown, which was widely anticipated after military vehicles appeared in major cities during the afternoon. To alleviate congestion at social-grant paypoints, the president has instructed that people who receive old-age grants would be able to collect them on March 30 and 31; all other social grants will be paid from April 1.
President Ramaphosa also announced an increase in screening and testing for the disease, and the establishment of a solidarity fund. A package of economic measures to protect credit, banking, businesses and jobs, as well as support those without formal incomes, was announced. Essential and critical business continuity services will need to remain open to support the health sector and to keep people healthy, safe and secure under these extraordinary conditions. We ask all businesses and people to take this seriously and to help us respond as effectively as possible to contain and minimise the impact of COVID-19.
Coronavirus Hotline Number: 0800 029 999 from 8:00 to 16:00, Monday to Friday.
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The NICD has another Clinician Hotline to improve #COVID19 communication and support for healthcare providers. The Clinician Hotline is 0800 11 1131, operating 24 hrs. The Public Hotline is 0800 029 999, also operating 24hrs.