On 23 March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a new measure to combat the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in South Africa – a three-week nationwide lockdown with severe restrictions on travel and movement, supported by the South African National Defence Force – from midnight on Thursday, 26 March, to midnight on Thursday, 16 April. The President said more needed to be done to avoid “an enormous catastrophe” among the population.
In essence, this meant people would only be allowed to leave their homes to buy food, seek medical help or under other extreme circumstances.
The lockdown follows government regulations that limited public gatherings, travel from high-risk countries and the sale of alcohol.
In addition, borders were closed to reduce the rate of infection from those travelling into South Africa from other countries. A quarantine was also enforced on inbound travellers and returning citizens.