Spokesperson to the President, Khusela Diko has slated fake messages that President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to announce a lockdown tonight.
“The President is not addressing the nation and announcing a lockdown tonight,” Diko said in a Twitter post.
“The National Command Council will meet in a scheduled meeting tomorrow to assess implementation of the directives announced by the President last Sunday.”
She added that the council will also consider recommendations on economic relief measures to mitigate against the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in South Africa.
“Thereafter, the President will give an update to the nation at a time to be decided at the conclusion of the meeting,” she said.
Lockdown on the cards
While the message that Ramaphosa is set to announce a lockdown tonight is not true, a lockdown is indeed on the cards.
Yesterday Gauteng Premier David Makhura warned that a national lockdown may be where South Africa is headed unless the coronavirus spread is contained.
On Saturday, The Star newspaper reported that South Africa could be only days away from a national shutdown if the number of coronavirus cases continued to rise.
The report said the number of community infections can be much higher than the official numbers.
This is because people who did not fit very specific criteria have been turned away from being tested.
Professor Alex van den Heever from WITS told The Star that he believes that this is a serious error of judgement.
“We are essentially turning a blind eye to possible community-based infections,” said Van den Heever.
240 confirmed infections in South Africa
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) announced that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa has increased to 240 as of Saturday 21 March.
The Western Cape has seen the greatest increase in reported coronavirus cases – up to 74 from 56 on Friday.
Gauteng remains the province with the most reported cases, up 125 from 109 on Friday. The Eastern Cape has also reported its first case.
On Saturday, global cases stood at 277,312 and 11,554 deaths. 91,994 people have recovered.