HEALTH MINISTER Dr Zweli Mkhize, has confirmed that no jogging or dog-walking will be allowed during the 21-day lockdown.
The follows his announcement on Wednesday morning that people would be allowed to jog and walk dogs responsibly.
However, during the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster media briefing held on Wednesday afternoon, Police Minister Bheki Cele said the morning remarks by Mkhize had been reversed following a ministers’ meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
“I hope we are now all clear. Your dogs will be walked around your house, not beyond that,” Cele said at the briefing.
As of Wednesday, South Africa’s COVID-19 cases increased to 709 confirmed positive cases.
Speaking to the public broadcaster, the SABC on Wednesday morning, Mkhize announced the latest figures which increased by 155 cases overnight.
With 64 new cases, Gauteng led the pack of the provinces with the highest increase.
The Western Cape came in second with 61 cases. KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State had 11 and 15 new cases, respectively.
The Minister said government is expecting an increase in numbers as tests trickle in.
According to the Minister, the COVID-19 test only takes three hours, but it is the moving of specimens between testing centres and labs which may be causing the delay.
With the imminent nationwide lockdown as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, the Minister called on the public to adhere to the 21-day lockdown in order to reduce the spread of infection.
“We must do as asked in order to reduce spread of infection. Steps government is taking now is to reduce risk of spreading. This virus will not be defeated by doctors and nurses, it will be defeated by our people,” Mkhize said.
With concerns over the high cost of the COVID-19 test, Mkhize said discussions with the private sector are underway to lower costs.
“Nobody should be making a profit off a crisis,” he said.
He added that more than 12 000 tests have been done thus far for COVID-19, and government is decentralizing testing facilities and getting more testing equipment.
Meanwhile, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said that the increase on social grants will continue, as per the recent announcement by the Finance Minister.
She said that security staff will be deployed at the paypoints and additional cash dispensers will be deployed to high volume points. The Post Bank call centre is available 24 hours, 7 days a week, on 0800 535455, to deal with concerns and complaints related to SASSA, SAPO cards and card replacements.
Recipients can also call the SASSA call centre on 0800 601011.
Image (Police Minister Bheki Cele).