It’s up to govts to decide on lockdown extensions - WHO

Questions have been raised about whether South Africa will extend the 21-day lockdown, which comes to an end next week.

An SANDF soldier stands guard during the lockdown in Cape Town. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - The special advisor to the director general at the World Health Organisation on Wednesday said they could only provide guidance to countries on how to deal with COVID-19, saying it was up to governments to decide on whether to extend lockdowns or implement other measures.

Questions have been raised about whether South Africa will extend the 21-day lockdown, which comes to an end next week.

Dr Princess Nothemba Simelela said lockdowns, for instance, were part of a broader approach on how to deal with containing the virus.

Simelela said it was not up to the WHO to make these kinds of decisions.

“A government will then decide what its best course of action is, it’s not a one size fits all and the WHO does not prescribe when a country should lock down or what it should do.”

Meanwhile, in India, state leaders are calling for an extension to their lockdown period, which ends next week or for measures to be lifted only partially.

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With over 10,000 Covid19 infections across Africa, the World Health Organisation said it was critical that countries did all they could to prevent the outbreak from intensifying.

So far, more than 500 people have died on the continent.

Africa's first COVID-19 case was recorded in Egypt on 14 February.

Since then 52 countries on the continent have reported cases.

The WHO has reiterated its working with governments across Africa to scale up their capabilities to deal with Covid-19.

Critical response areas include testing, isolation, case management, contact tracing, infection prevention and control.

The WHO said these combined measures would ensure the rapid identification of cases, as well as the tracking down and quarantining of contacts.

It said early isolation, including mild cases, was one of the key control measures, along with early detection and treatment.

Lastly, the WHO said it was working across the continent to deliver essential equipment, and train health workers, clinicians and public servants on how best to respond to COVID-19.

Here are some of the countries under coronavirus lockdowns across the globe:


Czech Republic



El Salvador

New Zealand















The rules of lockdowns are not the same for each country. Some have restricted movement on all members of the public, except for access to services such as food and healthcare, others have implemented curfews, while others have stricter rules with fines and possible arrests as consequences.

Added to South Africa's lockdown is the closure of most land borders and seaports.