Several arrests have been made since the official nationwide lockdown kicked in at midnight on Thursday, March 26. The first arrests were made in the Johannesburg CBD.
According to SABC News, South African Police Services (SAPS) conducted raids at several taverns and clubs where people were gathered to drink in the early hours of this morning [March 27].
The arrests took place in Hillbrow, at the Den Main Pub.
— City of Joburg (@CityofJoburgZA) March 27, 2020
President Cyril Ramaphosa first announced the 21-day lockdown during a briefing earlier this week. This is now the reality that South Africans have to face amid the coronavirus pandemic. Staying indoors and limited contact with others will reduce the spread of the novel virus.
Minister of Police Bheki Cele warned South Africans of the consequences of attempting to leave home unnecessarily. These include fines and arrest. Citizens are only permitted to leave their homes to purchase food, collect grants, seek medical attention and purchase medication.
Cigarettes and alcohol will also not be sold for the next 21 days, and anyone found selling these products illegally will be find or found guilty of a criminal offence. Those found guilty may also face a prison sentence of up to six months. No restaurants, taverns, clubs or bars may continue with business within this period either.
Authorities are clamping down on those who violate the rules, as well as those who are found to be ill but continue to put others at risk by venturing outside. On Wednesday, March 25, a KwaZulu-Natal man was arrested for attempted murder when he tested positive for the COVID-19 virus but still continued on with business as usual.