The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa has jumped to 150, president Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday (19 March).
The president made the new number known in a briefing following a meeting with religious leaders.
This new figure is up 30% from the previous overnight tally of 116 infected.
“The level of infection has now risen to 150, and that for us is concerning, because that already tells us that if you extrapolate that, it could start to rise in greater number.
“This reinforces our message about social distancing, that we should as much as possible reduce gatherings of people and not go beyond 100,” he said.
Social distancing is a social concept, not a hard-line regulation with enforced rules. It’s a broad measure to slow down the spread of infections, which will help officials curb transmission. This leaves it open to interpretation for individuals to assess the risks associated with any activity they choose to do.
Government has also ordered bars and restaurants to close at night and limit the number of patrons to 50 people during the day as it ratcheted up its response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The government, which has already shut most international flight routes and closed schools, issued the order on Wednesday. Bars and restaurants that sell liquor must remain closed from 6pm to 9am, it said.
The order from Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa on March 15 declared a national state of disaster.
The Department of Health has provided its own guidelines for what to avoid, or be cautious around where possible – but none of these recommendations are currently enforced.
It’s up to individuals and communities to opt-in to the concepts to best serve their families and wider communities.
By 14h00 on Thursday, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world totalled over 225,400, with 9,277 deaths. There are over 130,300 active cases, with 85,800 recoveries.
As many as 166 countries, areas or territories have confirmed cases.