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4 weeks after first COVID-19 case, SA coming to terms with new reality

From restrictions on our movement to measures to help businesses, which will be gutted by the nationwide lockdown, these are extraordinary times.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula (not pictured) addresses members of the Gauteng traffic police, the SANDF, taxi associations and commuters outside the MTN Noord taxi rank on 1 April 2020. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Four weeks after COVID-19 hit South Africa, the country had to come to terms with a very different reality.

From restrictions on our movement to measures to help businesses, which will be gutted by the nationwide lockdown, these are extraordinary times.

Exactly four weeks after South Africa registered its first coronavirus cases and almost a week into the lockdown, we're being urged not to become complacent.

Since 5 March, the number of infections has jumped to 1,380 and five people have died.

WATCH: Mkhize launches COVID-19 mobile testing units

It all started in KwaZulu-Natal on 5 March.

“A key question is that are we ready? And South Africa should not panic,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said when he made the announcement.

A 38-year-old man who had travelled with a group of people to Italy was the country’s first confirmed coronavirus case.

And soon, other provinces started recording cases including Gauteng, which remains the epicentre of the outbreak with hundreds of infections.

Just 10 days after the first case was reported and the numbers were rising, the president sprung into action by declaring a state of disaster.

Not long after a state of disaster was declared with sweeping restrictions, a national lockdown was enforced.
This unprecedented but necessary step threw much of the population into full panic mode.

Fearing the unknown and despite government’s assurances, many people continued to flood shopping malls and non-citizens raced to get out of the country.

With the exception of those in essential services, the lockdown will be in place for all South Africans until 16 April but there are warnings that life will not return to normal.

Citizens have been urged to continue adhering to the rules and help flatten the infection curve in order to decrease the burden on the health system.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.