President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday night declared a national state of disaster following the outbreak of the coronavirus in South Africa.
During his speech the president included in-depth information on travel restrictions within the country and its borders, as well as the closing of schools from Wednesday, 18 March until after Easter weekend.
South Africa currently has 61 confirmed coronavirus cases including its first local transmission from an individual that did not travel abroad.
To implement social distancing measures and help flatten the curve of the spread of the deadly virus within the country, the presidency has prohibited gatherings of more than 100 people. Large-scale celebrations of national days have also been cancelled.
WHAT IS CANCELLED?
Big upcoming stadium events in South Africa include Big Concert’s Lighthouse Family tour at the end of March, as well as the WWE Live tour in April and May. Channel24 has been in contact with Big Concerts and will update this article with their feedback as soon as it becomes available.
The Kirstenbosch Concerts 2020 will also be impacted by the presidency’s decision. As the announcement was made late on Sunday night none of the organisers have yet released any official statements or cancellations.
An unprecedented amount of local sporting events including the Two Oceans Marathon have been cancelled.
Shortly after the presidents speech the Cape Town Carnival announced it would be cancelling the event that was due to take place on 21 March as per the president's guidelines. The South African International Tattoo Convention has also postponed its gathering to late in October 2020.
Earlier on Sunday DStv was criticized for going ahead with its glitzy DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Awards on Saturday night and filling the Ticket Pro Dome "to the rafters" with guests and celebs in a time when everyone is encouraging social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.
HOW DOES IT SPREAD?
According to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) the virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
People are thought to be most contagious when they are the sickest, but some spread might be possible before people show symptoms.
As this is a developing story it’s not yet clear how this new decision will impact daily routines like going to the office and visiting the gym.
The New York Times on Saturday reported that Spain had become the second European country, after Italy, "to impose strict limits on public life, telling everyone to stay indoors, with few exceptions. As cases soared nationwide, the authorities confirmed that the prime minister’s wife had been infected."
The newspaper added: "In France, cafes and restaurants — central to the country’s soul and social life — were ordered closed along with most other nonessential businesses."