As Ramaphosa gets ready to address the nation tonight – a debate on how soon he should completely clamp down on all public activity has been raging on Twitter.
The hashtag #lockDownSouthAfrica has been trending on the social network with celebrities, such as sports presenter Robert Marawa, talk show host Sizwe Dhlomo and rappers Sho Madjozi and Rouge, weighing in on a possible countrywide shutdown.
Serious concerns: Healthcare system, economy
South Africa has recorded 402 COVID-19 cases, with the majority of these having come from foreign travelers. While South Africa has recorded no fatalities so far, there are fears that the healthcare system would not be able to cope with a large number of cases.
The impact on the economy has also been cited as the country is under immense pressure from a high unemployment rate at 29% and a weak rand.
‘Follow Rwandan example’
Robert Marawa used the example of Rwanda who shutdown at 17 cases as a blueprint for Mzansi to follow.
President Paul Kgagame’s government has set in place stringent precautions which include restaurants providing take-away services, public and private sector employees working from home, a ban on travel between districts, unnecessary movements and restricted visits, as well as the closure of bars.
Sho Madjozi: ‘Sanitation not enough’
Sho Madjozi warned that sanitization was not enough as the virus is spread through droplets from sneezing and coughing.
Tourism vs loss of lives
Sizwe Dhlomo said revenue derived from tourism wasn’t as important as saving lives. His comments were in reference to Ramaphosa’s hesitation to act on a total shutdown.
“The socio-economic situation which is largely represented by townships and informal settlements meant that last week’s measures were no longer sufficient”, veteran radio broadcaster Redi Tlhabi tweeted.
“Time is of the essence”, M-Net TV presenter Lalla Hirayama wrote.
Rouge praises Ramaphosa
“Ramaphosa should be given kudos for his attempts to stem the spread of the coronavirus, as the decisions he was taking were life-changing, rapper Rouge said in a video.”
Globally the toll of infected people stands at 353 000 with 15 408 deaths and 100 000 having recovered from the deadly virus.
On Monday 23 March, the number of people having tested positive for the coronavirus in South Africa stood at 402. Gauteng and the Western Cape are leading with the highest number of infected people to date at 207 and 100 respectively.