Africa, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

South Africa to send 73,000 troops to enforce lockdown

Country has 3,465 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 58 deaths

Hassan Isilow   | 23.04.2020
South Africa to send 73,000 troops to enforce lockdown

JOHANNESBURG 

South Africa’s president has authorized the deployment of an additional 73,180 soldiers to help police enforce lockdown regulations intended to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.  

In a letter to parliament, Cyril Ramaphosa said the number of coronavirus cases continues to increase across the country and the troops will help maintain law and order so citizens adhere to the lockdown restrictions. 

Ramaphosa initially deployed 2,280 troops on March 27 but decided to increase their numbers as some people continue to flaunt the rules. He said the additional troops will be deployed until June 26. 

South Africa, which has 3,465 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 58 deaths, is in its fourth week of a 35-day lockdown. 

Since March 27, only essential workers have been allowed to go to work or leave their homes. Others can only leave to go to hospitals, clinics or shop for food. 

Essential workers include health practitioners and those in the food production and telecommunications sectors. 

During the five-week lockdown, South Africans are not allowed to walk their dogs or jog. Stores have also stopped selling cigarettes and alcohol. 

There are fears that South Africa may extend the lockdown, which ends on April 30.

Since first appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the virus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 185 countries and regions, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the US.

More than 2.62 million cases have been confirmed worldwide and over 183,000 deaths with 709,694 recoveries.

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