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South Africans brace for 21-day lockdown as virus cases rise

'Unique circumstances'

Commenting on the president's announcement, Mosa Moshabela, dean and head of the Nursing and Public Health School at the University of KwaZulu-Natal said the lockdown "is an opportunity to break transmissions", referring to the 14-day incubation period during which the infection can flare into symptoms.

"With the additional week as a sort of buffer, we can assure that anyone South Africa News who was infected before the lockdown will go through the symptoms and recover within those 21 days," he told Al Jazeera.


Siviwe Gwarube, a member of parliament with the main opposition party, Democratic Alliance, stressed that strict measures were needed in the fight against the pandemic.

"As much as we have learned from the global community, the reality is that South Africa has a unique set of circumstances of social economic status of people," Gwarube said.

"There are over 50 percent who are poor and over 11 million South Africans are unemployed, so we need to be a lot more heavy-handed if we are going to be able to flatten the curve."

After reporting its first case of COVID-19 on March 5, the Press Release Distribution Services In South Africa  country now has the highest number of infections in sub-Saharan Africa. 

South Africa is among the most unequal countries in the world with 1 percent of its earners taking home almost 20 percent of all income in the country, according to the World Inequality Database.

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