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�� BREAKING �� "In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of #COVID19 cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher. WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic"- @drtedros #coronavirus
According to WHO and as of 25 March 2020, there are over 400,000 confirmed cases globally, with 196 countries affected. While China and Italy are the top two countries, respectively, with the most confirmed cases of Covid-19, the USA is the top country to be talking about coronavirus on social media (27.23%), as US citizens have also been making use of online forums and message boards to have social conversations about Covid-19. Rounding up the top three countries talking about the coronavirus are the UK (3.54%) and Spain (2.92%).
Data from a social media sentiment analysis indicates that the general consensus around coronavirus is progressively negative around the world, with 83% of social media mentions on ‘coronavirus’ being negative in March. These feelings are attributed to the virus’s impact on stock markets, working environments, restrictions put in place, the sickness and ill-health of citizens around the world, fatality rates and countries being on lockdown.
While ‘coronavirus’ has made waves in many news media articles around the world, in South Africa, users have been predominantly talking about the virus on social media, with ‘#CoronavirusInSA’ emerging as a hashtag being used to keep users updated and engaged with news on the virus in the country.
So far, there have been a total of 6 times where social media mentions in South Africa using the hashtag ‘#CoronavirusInSA’ were more than 10,000 per day, exceeding the daily global news media mentions on ‘coronavirus’.
Here are the dates on which this occurred, and what happened in South Africa on those dates respectively:
A number of countries around the world – such as Germany, France, Japan and the Dominican Republic – have implemented travel bans and restrictions in an effort to ‘flatten the curve’ and prevent the spread of the virus.
Since the beginning of March, there have already been over 170,000 global social media conversations that mention ‘travel bans’ in relation to the coronavirus.
Domestic coronavirus infections in China hit zero as the virus wreaks greater damage in other parts of the world, prompting many governments to impose quarantines and travel bans https://t.co/a7wOex5i8Y via @WSJ— Stan Kiernozek �� (@skiernozek) March 19, 2020
While other countries had already implemented travel bans, on 5 March 2020, the South African Department of Health Twitter account tweeted that travel bans had not been put in place in the country and that the government would be monitoring the situation.
But, following this tweet, there was an increase in South African social media users engaging with ‘#CoronavirusInSA’ as this was also the day that the first case of the coronavirus was confirmed in South Africa.
Trending themes that emerged on social media mentions that included ‘travel bans’ and ‘#CoronavirusInSA’ include:
With travel bans and restrictions in place, as well as certain countries, like South Africa, now officially on lockdown, the impact of the ‘coronavirus’ have been felt in other ways – including businesses across various industries and society overall.
As one of the top news media sources reporting on ‘coronavirus’ globally, The Limited Times reported on how the travel and tourism industry had been impacted by the coronavirus, due to the number of international travel bans and restrictions that many countries have made.
For South Africans, the travel ban has not only been implemented for international travel but local movement too as #SouthAfricaLockdown began at midnight on Thursday, 26 March 2020. Over 45,000 social media mentions have included this hashtag, with mentions ranging from messages of hope and encouragement to support behind President Ramaphosa.
A Facebook friend of mine did this artwork of our president and I think it's a phenomenal tribute to our commander in chief, President Ramaphosa. He has been an exceptional leader and I solute him! #Covid19SA #GautengCOVID19 #SouthAfricaLockdown #StayHomeSA #PrayForSouthAfrica pic.twitter.com/HbhwpjSz3h— Adrian Wynand Tromp (@tale_of_trompie) March 26, 2020
Some of the top posters, by reach, to be engaging on social media with #SouthAfricaLockdown include ‘eNCAnews’ and ‘SABC News’ on Facebook, and @News24, @juliancamarena and @Boity on Twitter.
Trending themes on #SouthAfricaLockdown include:
As the 21 days of lockdown begins in South Africa, the impact of the coronavirus has been felt not only in the country but across the world. As various nations implement restrictions in an effort to help prevent the spread, South Africans are preparing to play their own role during the next 21 days. The coming days will be crucial in seeing the silver lining of these measures, as South Africans come together to fight Covid-19 by staying at home.