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South Africa extends coronavirus lockdown by two weeks

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday prolonged by a further 14 days a three-week national lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, as infections notched up to 1,934.

“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 initial 21 days,” Ramaphosa announced in a televised address to the nation.

The president added that while it was too early to make a “definitive analysis” of the outbreak in South Africa, there was evidence to suggest the measures had been effective.

“In the two weeks before the lockdown, the average daily increase in new cases was around 42 percent,” Ramaphosa said.

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“Since the start of the lockdown, the average daily increase has been around four percent.”

South Africa is the worst-affected country on the continent, followed by Algeria with 1,666 cases confirmed so far.

The number of deaths remains relatively low, with 18 fatalities recorded to date.

Ramaphosa said he recognised the “great sacrifices” made by citizens and vowed to adjust lockdown measures so as to enable “a phased recovery of the economy”.

The president and his ministers will all take a one-third salary cut for three months and donate the money to the country’s virus solidarity fund. (AFP)

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