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Coronavirus: India on full lockdown. Are African countries next?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a nationwide lockdown from midnight for 21 days to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Will African countries make a similar move soon?

Addressing the nation for the second time in less than a week, Mr Modi said the move was necessary because the situation was getting serious.

“If we listen to the health experts we know that 21 days are crucial to break the cycle of transmission,” Modi said.

“For a few days forget what it means to go out. Today’s decision of a nationwide lockdown draws a line outside your home,” he said.

At the moment 482 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and nine deaths have been confirmed in India.

Most African countries are yet to take similar measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday announced a 21-day lockdown to fight coronavirus.

All restaurants, cafes, bars, coffee shops will be required to comply with the nation-wide lockdown for 21 days.

The president said that service providers not included on the list of what has been deemed essential services during the lockdown, will not be permitted to operate, and will thus need to be closed for the duration.

In addition, in compliance with the nation-wide lockdown all food delivery services will also need to be suspended for 21 days with effect from midnight Thursday, 26 March 2020 until midnight Thursday, 16 April 2020.

By Monday South Africa had 402 confirmed cases of COVID-19, an increase of 128 from the previous day.

The only people exempt from lockdown in South Africa are the health workers in the public and private sectors, emergency personnel, those in security services (such as the police, traffic officers, military medical personnel, soldiers) and other persons necessary to respond to COVID-19.

Those working in the production, distribution and supply of food and basic goods, essential banking services, the maintenance of power, water and telecommunications services, laboratory services, and those involved in the provision of medical and hygiene products, are also exempt.

People will be banned from leaving their homes except under strictly controlled circumstances, such as to seek medical care, buy food, medicine and other supplies or to collect social grants.