President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on all South Africans – religious or not – to offer a prayer and a thought for the protection and healing of South Africa and its people from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on the eve of the 21-day national lockdown.
Ramaphosa said this was the moment when South Africans needed to act together as a patriotic nation in solidarity with all those affected or impacted by Covid-19.
He said this was needed, not just in South Africa, but across the world.
Ramaphosa said citizens should observe two minutes of prayer, reflection or silent meditation on Thursday between 18:00 and 18:30.
“These are challenging times. We are traversing a path we have never travelled before. There are many amongst us who are fearful, uncertain and vulnerable. I call on our people to offer a prayer and a thought for the protection and healing of our land and its people from this disease,” Ramaphosa said.
On Wednesday Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said South Africa had 709 confirmed cases of Covid-19.
Ramaphosa said the coronavirus was a challenge that could not be overcome alone.
“In observing this National Day of Prayer we also want to send a message of hope to our brave and patriotic health care workers who are on the frontline and helping to save lives, with our emergency personnel, police, traffic officers and military, and with all those who are working tirelessly to keep us safe, healthy and alive,” said Ramaphosa.
The President said the nation’s thoughts should particularly be with those in hospital, quarantine or self-isolation.
He said the hardships imposed by a national lockdown were considerable, adding that the coming weeks would sorely test the country’s resolve and patience.
“The President called on citizens to demonstrate their solidarity with fellow South Africans by displaying our inspiring national flag on social media (#PrayForSouthAfrica), outside their homes and other prominent places as an act of compassion and unity during the national lockdown,” said the Presidency.