SA leads the world in tough Covid-19 lockdown regulations: Here’s how we compare

South Africa wasn’t the first country to report a problem with Covid-19 contagion, but the government appears to be implementing best practice from elsewhere – and taking stricter measures to cater for unique local conditions in order to save lives. MyBroadband has put together a comprehensive overview of how South Africa shapes up compared to the rest of the world. Notable exceptions are that Saffers are not allowed to exercise outside their homes or buy alcohol – but we are allowed to attend funerals. The latter could arguably be revised, though. I have attended two funerals in as many weeks – through the internet. At 3am on Wednesday, I joined more than 200 people from around the world at a ceremony in New Zealand to hear, through an online system, tributes for my 48-year-old cousin who immigrated there a few years ago and was hit by a car while exercising. Last week, smartphone access through Zoom enabled me to attend a church funeral for a school friend who died of cancer, far too early, in the US where she worked as a psychologist. – Jackie Cameron

South Africa’s lockdown regulations vs The World

By Bradley Prior*

(MyBroadband) – South Africa is in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and regulations have been outlined as to what restrictions this imposes on citizens.

These regulations are comprehensive, but are not necessarily aligned with those set out by other countries.

South Africa’s lockdown measures include forcing all South Africans to stay at home except for when obtaining essential services or products – such as shopping for groceries, receiving medical attention, or purchasing medicine.

Essential services employees are also allowed to go to work.

The differences between South Africa’s lockdown regulations and those set out by other countries are detailed below.


One notable difference between South Africa’s regulations and those in countries such as the UK and New Zealand relates to exercise.

In the United Kingdom, citizens may exercise once a day, while New Zealand allows its citizens to exercise – provided these activities are done within their local area, while keeping a distance of at least two metres from others.

In contrast, South Africans are not allowed to exercise outside of their homes.

In the case of gated estates, South Africans are also not allowed to run, walk, or cycle within their boundaries.

Food services

In South Africa, restaurants and fast-food chains are not allowed to engage in the provision or delivery of meals.

Additionally, Uber Eats and Mr D Food are only allowed to deliver essential goods – such as medicine and groceries.

In the US, however, many states are allowing restaurants to remain open for deliveries and takeaways.

Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Virginia are just a few examples of states that allow certain non-sit-down restaurant services to continue.

This is also the case in the UK – restaurants and cafes can offer food delivery and takeaways.


As part of its regulations, South Africa has shut down the sale of all alcohol. This is not the case in many other countries.

In Australia, alcohol retailers continue to operate, but under a voluntary code whereby they limit the amount of alcohol customers can buy in a single visit.

This comprises a limit of two cases of beer, cider, and premixed spirits, as well as 12 bottles of wine per customer.

Cask wine and bottled spirits are limited to two items each.

North America and most of Europe have also allowed alcohol stores to remain open.

Arguments have been made that for those who are addicted to alcohol, a complete shutdown of these services can cause severe withdrawal symptoms.

This “could have serious complications, especially if the person is confined to their home”, Montreal Addiction Prevention Centre director Anne-Elizabeth Lapointe told AFP.


In South Africa, regulations announced on 2 April allow for funerals with limited attendance.

Those allowed to travel to funerals include the deceased’s spouse or partner, children, children in law, parents, siblings, grandparents, and “persons closely affiliated to the deceased”.

Funeral capacity is also limited to a maximum of 50 people.

In Australia, however, restrictions implemented on 24 March limit the number of attendees at a funeral to no more than 10 people.

New Zealand has banned funerals completely, instead only allowing those originally in the deceased’s “bubble” to view the body or go to the cemetery or crematorium.

The UK is allowing funerals to take place, but is limiting those in attendance to spouses, partners, parents, carers, siblings, children, and grandchildren.

If the person has none of these, a close friend may attend.


A standout country at the moment is Sweden, which has no lockdown in place.

There are no serious restrictions on movement, schools are open for children under 16, restaurants are operational, and people may leave their homes.

The government has provided guidance to people alerting them to COVID-19, and citizens are required to keep a distance from one another when going outside.

Part of the reason for this lack of strict regulation is that there is a big risk in locking down the country’s economy without understanding the full potential impact of the virus.

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