South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would be placed on temporary lockdown for three weeks in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19 – SA has 402 confirmed infections and 0 deaths.
“Immediate, swift and extraordinary action is required if we are to prevent a human catastrophe of enormous proportions,” says Ramaphosa. “While this measure will have a considerable impact on people’s livelihoods, on the life of our society and our economy, the human cost of delaying this action would be far greater.”
Starting on Thursday, 26 March at 00h00, until Thursday, 16 April, the lockdown will see all ‘human contact’ businesses close their doors – except for essential services within the healthcare, emergency, energy, financial and basic goods sectors.
All organisations that can work remotely are advised to do so.
“The next few days are crucial,” adds the President of South Africa. “Without decisive action, the number of people infected will rapidly increase from a few hundred to tens of thousands and within a few weeks to hundreds of thousands.”
What this means for tech
While a three-week shutdown is undoubtedly going to impact South African businesses and organisations across the board, it will leave many with a renewed appreciation for technology and connectivity as people learn how to keep themselves entertained and productive.
Aside from this, there’s no telling how a shortage of access to products from the worlds leading heavyweights – like Apple, Facebook and HP – could impact the global manufacturing system, leaving SA playing catch up in the weeks to come.
Companies have already seen a major decrease in shipments as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak – with Apple announcing in mid-February that it wouldn’t meet its revenue guidance for this quarter because of planned cuts in production to protect employees and contain the virus.
Apple is not the only manufacturer feeling the impact. According to TechWeez, “On Android, there was a similar huge drop in shipments. Collectively, Android brands show shipments decline from 12.72 million units in February 2019 to 5.85 million in February 2020, which represents a 54% drop”.
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