From how and when you ride to what you imbibe: Take a quick look at the far-reaching powers of the state in the time of the new virus.
In case you missed it, South Africa has now more than 60 reported cases of the new coronavirus, named Sars Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) — “Sars” because of its similarity to the virus responsible for the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in China. The virus gives rise to the disease called COVID-19.
1. Even unnecessary local travel is a no-no
The country has also joined others such as the United States in issuing travel bans from high-risk countries.
ICYMI: South Africans are to Refrain from travelling to— Bhekisisa (@Bhekisisa_MG) March 16, 2020
▪People who visited High Risk areas as of mid Feb – are required to come in for testinghttps://t.co/JQLePyti8K #CoronaVirusSA
South Africa will also close ports of entry that don’t have the capacity to screen for COVID-19 symptoms and that link it to its neighbours.
South Africa to close 12 border posts with #Botswana; 9 border posts with #Lesotho; 3 with #Mozambique leaving one operational; 5 border posts to close with # Namibia. #Zimbabwe‘s Beitbridge to remain open. https://t.co/JQLePyti8K #CoronavirusOutbreak— Bhekisisa (@Bhekisisa_MG) March 16, 2020
2. The government can now take extraordinary measures to control the virus — including controlling the movement of people and booze
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a “national state of disaster” in terms of the country’s Disaster Management Act. The Act allows government to make extraordinary regulations to protect the public or property or to deal with the effects of a disaster.
What does this mean? The state can override some of the day-to-day freedoms people enjoy, regulating movement as well as the availability of alcohol.
Min of Justice Ronald Lamola: The President’s announcement affects the rights of SA but it is done in terms of Section 36 of the Constitution. The disaster management Act provides executive with far-reaching powers. The dept is currently drafting regulations.— Bhekisisa (@Bhekisisa_MG) March 16, 2020
If the government needs still more power, it will declare a state of emergency.
At this stage, we believe we can do what the health department needs within the Disaster Management Act. – Lamola https://t.co/JQLePyti8K #CoronavirusOutbreak If need be, we will envoke the State of Emergency Act – it will be a last resort – Lamola https://t.co/JQLePyti8K— Bhekisisa (@Bhekisisa_MG) March 16, 2020
3. The virus is likely to disrupt court hearings in the country
Stringent measures at correctional facilities may affect courts, including access to lawyers. We are looking at how to mitigate this. Lamola https://t.co/JQLePyti8K #CoronavirusOutbreak #CoronaVirusSA #PrisonHealth— Bhekisisa (@Bhekisisa_MG) March 16, 2020
…And local elections in South Africa
4. Ramaphosa has also banned gatherings of more than 100 people. Schools and some universities are closing. The outbreak is also changing how people worship.
Patel: The Muslim judicial council is planning a meeting as are other religious bodies. Some people have already been encouraged to pray at home https://t.co/JQLePyti8K #CoronavirusOutbreak #CoronaVirusSA— Bhekisisa (@Bhekisisa_MG) March 16, 2020
5. Following the money: The coronavirus outbreak will also shift some money away from HIV and TB programmes
One of our main donors for these conditions, the US President’s Emergency Plan For Aids Relief (Pepfar), will allow South Africa to reprioritise some of the R10-billion it receives for the twin epidemics to fight the new coronavirus.
.@HealthZA @PEPFAR will be looking at issuing more patients with multiple months of supplies of chronic medications to decongest health facilities, limit the risk for immunocompromised people #NCD #HIV https://t.co/JQLePyti8K #CoronavirusOutbreak #CoronaVirusSA— Bhekisisa (@Bhekisisa_MG) March 16, 2020