WATCH RECORDING | Ministers brief the media after President Ramaphosa announces strict Covid-19 measures.
I am addressing you this evening on a matter of great national importance.
The world is facing a medical emergency far graver than what we have experienced in over a century.
The World Health Organisation has declared the coronavirus outbreak as a global pandemic.
There are now more than 162 000 people who have tested positive for the coronavirus across the globe.
Given the scale and the speed at which the virus is spreading, it is now clear that no country is immune from the disease or will be spared its severe impact.
Never before in the history of our democracy has our country been confronted with such a severe situation.
From the start of the outbreak in China earlier this year, the South African government has put in place measures to screen visitors entering the country, to contain its s read and to treat those infected.
As of now, South Africa has 61 confirmed cases of people infected with the virus, and this number is expected to rise in the coming days and weeks.
Initially, it was people who had travelled out of the country, especially from Italy, who had positively tested for the virus.
It is concerning that we are now dealing with internal transmission of the virus.
This situation calls for an extraordinary response; there can be no half measures.
Cabinet held a special meeting earlier today.
After which, due to the serious measures we are going to announce, I have consulted the premiers.
We have decided to take urgent and drastic measures to manage the disease, protect the people of our country and reduce the impact of the virus on our society and on our economy.
We have now declared a national state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act.
This will enable us to have an integrated and coordinated disaster management mechanism that will focus on preventing and reducing the outbreak of this virus.
We will also be able to set up emergency, rapid and effective response systems to mitigate the severity of its impact.
Following an extensive analysis of the progression of the disease worldwide and in South Africa, Cabinet has decided on the following measures:
Firstly, to limit contact between persons who may be infected and South African citizens
We are imposing a travel ban on foreign nationals from high-risk countries such as Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, and China as from 18 March 2020.
We have cancelled visas to visitors from those countries from today and previously granted visas are hereby revoked.
South African citizens are advised to refrain from all forms of travel to or through the European Union, United States, United Kingdom and other identified high-risk countries such as China, Iran, and South Korea.
This is effective immediately.
WATCH RECORDING | Coronavirus: President Cyril Ramaphosa updates the country on Covid-19.
Get Focus insights straight to your inbox