President’s Speech: Lock Down Extended Until 30 April 2020
On the evening of 9 April 2020, President Ramaphosa addressed the Nation with an update of the way forward on the lock down in the country.
- The lock down is extended until 30 April 2020.
- Depending on how the country can manage and mitigate the spread of Covid-19, the lock down period may go beyond 30 April 2020.
- The restrictions of movement and social distancing will continue to remain in force.
- Evidence shows that the lock down is working in South Africa. The number of confirmed cases on 27 March 2020 was 1 170 and the number of confirmed cases currently stands at 1 934.
- In the two weeks before the lockdown, the average daily increase in new cases was around 42%. But since the start of the lockdown, the average daily increase has been around 4%.
The President spoke to a three-part strategy:
- intensified public health response to slow down and reduce infections.
- comprehensive package of economic support measures to assist businesses and individuals affected by the pandemic.
- programme of increased social support to protect poor and vulnerable households.
Mass community screening and testing campaign in priority areas.
Aggressive tracing of all contacts and isolating suspected cases to prevent transmission.
Medical treatment to all those infected and hospitalization of serious cases.
Establishment of the National Ventilator Project to rapidly mobilise our technical and industrial resources to manufacture non-invasive ventilators, which will be used to support patients in need.
Increasing the local manufacture of protective face masks, hand sanitisers and pharmaceutical products.
Established the COVID-19 Information Centre at the CSIR which will keep track of all screening, testing, isolation and hospitalisation throughout the country.
R30 billion for Covid-19 TERS to companies closed during lock down.
R3 billion from the IDC for companies that produce essential goods, such as medical equipment.
R200 million for SMMEs in tourism and hospitality sector.
R500 million for SMMEs in distress.
R1.2 billion to assist farmers.
R1 billion from the Future Trust and Sukuma Relief Fund to support SMMEs and sole proprietors with interest free loans.
The postponement of loan repayments for a period of 6 months for loans with the Small Enterprise Finance Agency.
Establishing Quarantine Facilities
398 public and private quarantine facilities.
34 000 beds available for those who cannot be isolated at home.
Providing Support to the Vulnerable
The Social Relief of Distressed Funds are used to distribute food parcels to 40 000 households.
Social grants to continue and special measures are in place to protect beneficiaries as they collect their grants.
Homeless people in all major cities will be provided with temporary shelter and food.
R40 billion UIF reserves are being used to ensure employees, whose work is disrupted by the lock down, retain jobs and salaries. UIF has paid out approximately R356 million to date.
Further measures to be announced.
Providing Water to the Communities
17 631 water tanks and 1 076 water tankers have been procured to ensure all communities have access to water. 11 000 water tanks have been delivered and 1 000 water tankers provided to support communities.
Mobilising All South African
The Solidarity Fund has raised over R2.2 billion thus far.
President, Ministers and Premiers are donating 1/3 of their salaries to the Solidarity Fund. Private sector higher earners (CEOs, Public Officers, etc.) are encouraged to donate part of their salaries.
All businesses are encouraged to continue to pay their suppliers, to the extent that they can, to ensure that those suppliers can also continue to operate and pay their staff and suppliers.
Vodacom has donated 20 000 cell phones for health workers who will be involved in screening and tracing in communities. The cell phones will have a software linking it to the COVID-19 Information Centre.
Finally, there will also be a coordinated response from the AU to deal with the pandemic across Africa. The AU COVID-19 Response Fund is established to mobilise resources across the continent.