Here is what happened in South Africa when the lockdown hit

A new COVID-19 Community Mobility Report by Google shows what happened after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the 21-day lockdown, and when the lockdown kicked in.

The Google location report reveals how visits and length of stay at different places changed during the lockdown, compared to preceding weeks.

Google calculated these changes using the same kind of aggregated and anonymized data used to show popular times for places in Google Maps.

Changes for each day are compared to a baseline value for that day of the week.

The baseline is the median value, for the corresponding day of the week, during the 5-week period from 3 January to 6 February 2020.

Google said this report is aimed at helping people to understand responses to social distancing guidance.

What happened before and after the lockdown started

The report revealed there was a huge spike in visits to grocery stores and pharmacies before the lockdown hit.

These visits, however, plummeted by around 60% after the lockdown came into effect on 27 March 2020.

The report further showed that visits to restaurants, cafes, shopping centers, theme parks, museums, libraries, and movie theatres dropped by 80% after the lockdown started.

There was also a 49% decline in people going to their office or workplace, and a 24% increase in people staying at home.

The charts below show the impact of the national lockdown on the movement of people in South Africa.


Grocery and pharmacy -60%

Mobility trends for places like grocery stores, food warehouses, farmers markets, specialty food shops, drug stores, and pharmacies.


Retail and recreation -79%

Mobility trends for places like restaurants, cafes, shopping centers, theme parks, museums, libraries, and movie theatres.


Parks -55%

Mobility trends for places like national parks, public beaches, marinas, dog parks, plazas, and public gardens.


Transit stations -80%

Mobility trends for places like public transport hubs such as subway, bus, and train stations.


Workplaces -49%

Mobility trends for places of work.


Residential +24%

Mobility trends for places of residence.


Now read: South Africa’s coronavirus stats – Why people should not become complacent

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Here is what happened in South Africa when the lockdown hit