'Only 1 person will be allowed to travel in passenger car during lockdown' - state

25 March 2020 - 20:13
By Kgothatso madisa
Vehicles that transport eight people would only be allowed to carry three passengers.
Image: SIPHIWE SIBEKO Vehicles that transport eight people would only be allowed to carry three passengers.

All South Africans will have to be in their homes between 9am and 4pm in the evening from tomorrow. Anyone who is found to be on the streets during this time will have to be declared an essential worker.

The lockdown which will be implemented at midnight on Thursday, will only see South Africans allowed to buy food between 4am and 9am and again between 4pm and 8pm.

These are the times that public transport will be permitted to operate.

Beyond the lockdown timelines, people stopped by the SA police service and SA National Defence Force - who will be conducting road blocks and searches – will have to produce evidence that they have been declared essential workers.

Commute during the lockdown will be limited to one person in a passenger car and only three people in a vehicle that can carry eight people, including buses.

All borders will be closed for human beings for 21 days from midnight tonight while all international and domestic flights are also cancelled.

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These are some of the measures that the government has undertaken to fight the spread of the coronavirus that has to date affected at least 709 people.

All restaurants, alcohol point of sales, recreation centres, churches, flea markets, hotels, sporting venues will also be closed for 21 days and people would only be allowed to buy food at the supermarkets that will remain operational that they can cook at their houses.

Police minister Bheki Cele said that inebriation was a major contributor to overcrowding at hospitals and that the decision to completely stop the sale of alcohol would be of great help.

“Restaurants shall not operate. There shall be no food at restaurants. You buy food from these outlets and go and cook [at] home,” he said.

“So there is no need to move around. There was a little bit of a story earlier on that you can walk your dog, there shall be no dogs that will be walked. The cluster met, discussed and we agreed that it doesn’t enhance the call made by the president. If you really want to walk your dog [do it] around your house.”

Cele said that the number of people allowed in a single gathering had been reduced from 100 to 50 including for funerals.

He said that people faced six months imprisonment should they break any of the regulations.

“To show that we are serious, it tells us that if you break these laws or these regulations, you are six months in or a fine or both. In KZN two people have been charged already, charged with attempted murder, deliberately moved around after they’ve been told,” Cele said.

Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said that the limitation of movement was not meant to punish citizens but to curb the spread.

She said President Cyril Ramaphosa would on Thursday address the military personnel just hours before their nation-wide deployment.

“We are providing support to members of the South African Police Service in road blocks, in foot patrols throughout the country to enforce the curfew,” she said.

“Of course part of the work that should be done will be border safeguarding activities at ports of entries.”​