South Africa’s Cabinet is considering drastic measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic, including a total ban on travellers from Europe and holding sports events in empty stadiums.

This is according to a Sunday Times report, which said there may also be a limit on gatherings of 1,000 people.

“The cabinet will consider a recommendation that South Africans returning from high-risk countries be in quarantine for 14 days,” the Sunday Times said.

This is in line with New Zealand’s recent announcement that everyone who enters the country is now required to self-isolate for 14 days. This self-isolation saw SANZAAR announce the suspension of the 2020 Super Rugby tournament for the foreseeable future.

Citing experts, Rapport stated it is possible for South Africa to avoid a catastrophic outbreak of the coronavirus if it acts decisively.

The experts said to contain the coronavirus outbreak, the country should learn from other countries and immediately implement restrictions.

Special Cabinet meeting

The special Cabinet meeting on the coronavirus will be held today in Tshwane to discuss matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This meeting will follow yesterday’s announcement that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa is now at 38. This increased from 24 the day before.

“Cabinet reassures all in South Africa that the country remains on high alert. Every precaution is being taken to safeguard the country against any surge of the COVID-19,” said Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu.

Mthembu also announced that President Ramaphosa will update political parties represented in Parliament, as well as church leaders on COVID-19.

“We also strongly caution against the dissemination of any false information related to the virus so to prevent the spread of fear, stigma and discrimination within our society,” said the Minister.

Wash your hands

Cabinet also reiterated the call by the World Health Organisation and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to continually practice preventative measures to stop the transmission and spread of the virus.

“Measures include washing your hands often with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer,” said Mkhize.

“You should also avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and covering your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and disposing hygienically of the tissue.”

Common symptoms of the virus include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. When displaying symptoms of any illness, individuals are advised to stay home and seek medical assistance.

The public is also urged to call the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) hotline for any information related to the coronavirus – 0800 029 999.

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