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Coronavirus: S. Africans buy essentials as lockdown looms

The 21-day national lockdown is aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

With just hours to go before the national lockdown on Thursday midnight queues are growing at stores and supermarkets in Cape Town. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - South Africans are hours away from a government lockdown that will see severe restrictions imposed on civilian movements.

The 21-day national lockdown is aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Government put forward strict measures that the country would have to comply with as it grapples with the pandemic. The drastic measures would not apply to those in essential services.

Over 700 COVID-19 infections were reported in South Africa so far.

At Rivonia Village, shops were packed to capacity. It was to be expected as South Africans rushed to get supplies before the national shutdown.

Most commonly bought items included liquor, which would not be sold during the lockdown as clearly stipulated by the government.

But citizens would be allowed to buy food, medicine, and other emergency supplies.

“I don’t think we are ready and prepared enough for the lockdown,” said one shopper.

Another shopper said: “The lockdown for me as a new mom isn’t easy, I’m trying to make sure I have everything that my baby needs.”

Government pleaded with South Africans to play their part to make social distancing a reality and help fight a common enemy.

Meanwhile, in Cape Town queues were growing at most supermarkets and other shops.

People were standing in long queues which were growing by the minute at one Pick n Pay store.

Shoppers were being ushered in in groups and their hands were sanitised before they started grabbing for goods.

One customer said he woke up early to join the queue.

“I woke up early because I was expecting a long queue in the morning… I’m ready for the lockdown,” he said.

To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.

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