Image via Adobe Stock
Image via Adobe Stock
It all very much feels like we’re 12 minutes into a disaster movie: The coronavirus pandemic has been announced, the news is a constant source of death tolls and infections, and most of the country is shutting down. However, unlike a disaster movie, we’ve actually seen some pretty sensible moves from the authorities.
The travel ban is set to limit the amount of potential carriers coming from Europe and North America. The school shutdown will help protect our youngsters from any further spread of COVID-19. And, although the sporting calendar has been decimated, it really is a case of being “safe rather than sorry”.
Of course, we wouldn’t mind a few other measures – mandatory remote-working where possible is another good shout – but one feels the right thing is being done for the most part. Yet, some big questions remain… so when do all these restrictions actually kick in, and when might they be lifted again?
The official travel ban implemented by President Cyril Ramaphosa comes into effect on Wednesday 18 March. Essentially, all South African travellers who wish to return home from a high-risk area (South Korea, Italy, Germany, France, Iran, China, the United Kingdom or the United States) must leave these countries on or before 23:59 on Tuesday, or face being turned away from South Africa while the ban is in place.
There has been no definite communication on this. The only other information Ramaphosa provided in this respect was that anyone who had visited any of the aforementioned countries since Tuesday 25 February would be refused an entry visa to South Africa while the travel ban is in force. Others who do return from these nations before Wednesday, will be tested for coronavirus and immediately quarantined.
[BREAKING] South Africa imposes travel ban on visitors from Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, US, UK and China as from 18 March 2020. All visas to these nationals, now cancelled. #COVID19— Lindsay Dentlinger (@metrobabe) March 15, 2020
The festivities that were scheduled to take place on Saturday 21 March will all come to a halt. The government has advised against mass gatherings, so public celebrations will be in extremely short supply.
Children are advised to attend school on Tuesday 15 March. This will be the last day they are required to attend before all educational facilities go into a managed shutdown. From Wednesday 18 March, all schools across the country will close. Tuesday 14 April has been pencilled in as a potential return date for pupils.
All Western Cape schools will close for learners on Wednesday 18 March, not before 11:00
Good Friday falls on 10 April, Easter Sunday is on 12 April, and the Family Day public holiday is Monday 13 April. Should the action taken by the government prove to be successful, this will serve as a benchmark as to when certain restrictions may be lifted.