Schools shut, travel bans enforced as SA declares coronavirus disaster

TIME TO ACT: President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation following a special cabinet meeting on the COVID-19 epidemic at the Union Buildings in Pretoria

Schools across SA will be closed and a travel ban put in place from Wednesday as SA takes “urgent and drastic measures” to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday night.

On top of this, all gatherings of more than 100 people will be prohibited.The president announced a national state of disaster and said the killer virus which was sweeping the globe had now infected at least 61 people in SA.

In Port Elizabeth, St Dominic’s Priory School is on high alert after a parent of two pupils at the school came in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.Principal Grant James said he was informed on Sunday morning by one parent that their spouse had been in direct contact with someone who had tested positive for the virus.

The  board decided that the school would be  closed effective immediately, James said, adding the affected parent would be tested on Monday to see if they had been infected.Ramaphosa said the number of positive COVID-19 cases was “expected to rise in the coming days and weeks”.“Initially it was people who have travelled outside the country, especially Italy [who tested positive].

“It is concerning now that we are dealing with internal transmission of the virus,” he said, without providing further details.“Never before in the history of our democracy has our country been confronted with such a severe situation,”  Ramaphosa said.

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