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  • South Africa goes into a national lockdown starting on Friday, 27 March, to slow the spread of Covid-19.
  • All businesses will shut down – except a specific list of those exempted from the shutdown.
  • These are the businesses that will stay open for business.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za. 

Update: Here’s what we know about the details and logistics of SA’s Covid-19 shutdown

South Africa will go into a national lockdown on Friday, 27 March (immediately after midnight on Thursday), to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday night.

The shutdown will last for 21 days.

During that time, all businesses must shut down, other than a list of those considered vital.

See also: These taxpayers will get a windfall of R500 a month until July as part of Covid-19 measures

Between Tuesday 24 March and Thursday 26 March, businesses will be able to operate as usual, although under a call for social distancing.

The full list of those exempted has yet to be published by the time of publication.

In his address, Ramaphosa said that businesses that may continue operation will include:

  • pharmacies
  • laboratories
  • banks
  • essential finance systems, such as the JSE
  • supermarkets
  • petrol stations
  • healthcare providers
  • companies involved in making or distributing food, basic goods, and medical supplies.

Ramaphosa promised that provision would be made for "essential transport services to continue, including transport for essential staff and for patients who need to be managed elsewhere".

Companies with continuous operations, such as furnaces and underground mines, will be expected to put their operations on care and maintenance, Ramaphosa said.

See also: You are legally required to report a neighbour with the coronavirus in South Africa

A similar list of people will be exempted from travel restrictions that will also be in place. People who will be allowed to travel, Ramaphosa said, include:

  • health workers, in both the public and private sectors
  • emergency workers
  • security services, including police, soldiers, traffic officers
  • those in the production, supply and distribution of food and other basic goods
  • those in essential banking systems
  • people who maintain water, electricity, and similar systems.

See also: You can now help SA’s national treasury with spending ideas to fight the coronavirus

Other South Africans will not be allowed to leave their homes except "under strictly controlled circumstances", Ramaphosa said. He listed the following circumstances:

  • seeking medical care
  • buying food, medicine, and "other supplies"
  • collecting a social grant.

Failure to comply with lockdown rules could result in a fine, or imprisonment for one month, according to guidelines posted on the government's official coronavirus website on Monday night.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

See our Covid-19 in South Africa update page for everything we know about the novel coronavirus and measures to contain it, as soon as we know it.

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