Mixed results as S. Africa enters 21-day lockdown

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 27, 2020 - Duration: 01:21s

Mixed results as S. Africa enters 21-day lockdown

South Africans woke up under lockdown on Friday, struggling to adapt to some of the toughest restrictions in the world as the country recorded its first coronavirus deaths and confirmed cases rose above 1,000.

Emer McCarthy reports.


Mixed results as S. Africa enters 21-day lockdown

South Africans woke to a 21-day lockdown on Friday (March 27) -- some of the toughest measures in the world -- as the country recorded its first coronavirus deaths and confirmed cases rose above 1,000.

But the results are mixed, and underlines the difficulty other countries in the region may face if the disease takes real hold.

The streets of Johannesburg are practically deserted for example, while military and traffic police have been removing homeless people from the streets and forcing them into shelters.

But not far away, in Alexandra and other poorer townships, large crowds are still gathering.

And, the cramped conditions in those places go against social distancing rules and act as a breeding ground for the virus among people reliant on the country's ailing public health system.

The restrictions confines people to their homes for most activities including exercise, only permitting trips outside for specific purposes like buying food or for health emergencies.

South Africa's first two deaths from the virus both occurred in Western Cape, more than 600 miles from Johannesburg.

The country has become an epicenter of the outbreak on the continent, where 3,212 people have been infected overall, of whom 84 have died.

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