On Sunday 15 March, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation about a suite of measures designed to tackle the new ‘state of disaster’ posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. A day later, Cabinet ministers gave further details. And as frustrating or obstructive as the measures might seem, the good news is that they are mostly based on international best practice.

International health experts have made it clear that the challenge to be faced by developing countries in tackling Covid-19 will be of a different order of magnitude to rich-world nations.

Poverty, poor sanitation, an existing disease burden, overstretched health systems and extreme urban population density mean that the pandemic could explode in poor countries in an even more catastrophic way than has been seen elsewhere thus far.