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Rubber bullets fired at South Africans defying coronavirus orders

Rubber bullets fired at South Africans defying coronavirus orders 1

South Africa has some of the toughest coronavirus lockdown regulations in the world but enforcing them is not easy. The country has more than 1,300 reported cases, the most of any country in Africa, and authorities are worried the virus could spread in poorer areas.

Security forces are firing rubber bullets at those defying orders to stay at home in an attempt to clear the streets, parks and anywhere people are gathered illegally.

The lockdown has also laid bare the enduring fault lines in South Africa of poverty and race in places like the township of Alexandra in Johannesburg, one of the nation’s poorest communities, CBS News foreign correspondent Debora Patta reports.  

“We are a one-room house that has about six people or so. So it’s still the same. You can’t have six people stuck in one room for the whole thing, for the entirety,” one man said.

The military was brought in to assist police with controlling crowds. Security forces have been filmed humiliating transgressors by making them do demeaning physical exercises.  

People standing in line to buy food were observing little of the social distancing protocols now in place.

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“It hasn’t hit us because it hasn’t happened. It’s not so close to home,” Lebo Mataboge said.

But there is at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Alexandra.  

At least 10,000 field workers have been deployed to the country’s poorer areas to test for the disease. Authorities are terrified that if the virus is not contained it could exact a death toll far higher than anywhere else in the world. 

© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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