South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the country to observe a national day of prayer on Thursday, as citizens prepare to go into lockdown at midnight.
“I call on all our people, whether they are religious or not, wherever they are, on Thursday March 26 to observe a moment of silence in a show of social solidarity,” Ramaphosa said on Twitter.
He encouraged people to spend two minutes in prayer, reflection or silent meditation between 6pm and 6.30pm.
“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.
“These are challenging times. We are traversing a path we have never travelled before. There are many among us who are fearful, uncertain and vulnerable.”
He said the nation’s thoughts should be on those in hospitals, quarantine or self-isolation.
“In observing this #NationalDayofPrayer we also want to send a message of hope to our brave and patriotic health-care workers who are on the front line 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 the president.
He commended the media for being “exemplary” in keeping the public informed about the work the government is doing to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ramaphosa also urged South Africans to display the country’s flag outside their homes and other prominent places as an act of compassion and unity during the lockdown.
He said this is the moment when South Africans need to act together as one patriotic nation in solidarity with all those affected by Covid-19, not just in this country, but around the world.
SA will be in lockdown until April.