Ramaphosa extends South Africa’s lockdown by further 14 days

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SOUTH African President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended by a further 14 days, his country’s lockdown imposed to prevent the further spread of coronavirus.

He said this in a special address to the Covid-19 ravaged country Thursday night as South Africa reached Day 14 of the initially decreed 21-day lockdown period.

Ramaphosa said the drastic measure was to prevent massive loss of lives.

South Africa, home to millions of Zimbabwean migrants, has the continent’s highest infection rate with 18 deaths so far.

“After careful consideration of the available evidence, the national coronavirus command council has decided to extend the nationwide lockdown by a further two weeks beyond the 21 days,” Ramaphosa said.

He said the decision was not taken lightly.

“This evening I stand before you to ask you to endure even longer. I have to ask you to make even greater sacrifices so that our country may survive this crisis,” he said.

Ramaphosa said that there had been 1,934 cases of Covid-19 across SA.

“Simply put,” he said, “if we end the lockdown too soon, or too abruptly, we risk a massive and uncontrollable resurgence of the disease. We risk reversing the gains that we have made over the last few weeks, and rendering meaningless the great sacrifices that we have all made.

“We did not take this decision to extend the lockdown lightly. As your president, I am mindful of the great and heavy burden this will impose on you. I am keenly aware of the impact this will have on our economy. But I know, as you do, that unless we take these difficult measures now, unless we hold this course for a little longer, the coronavirus pandemic will ultimately come to our country.”