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Food parcels given to those unable to work amid Johannesburg lockdown

Food parcels were handed out in inner-city Johannesburg on Monday to people unable to work amid lockdown conditions put in place to contain the new coronavirus.

Those receiving the essential packages included self-employed waste pickers who scour the city's rubbish for recyclables and are paid for the amount they collect.

They are key to South Africa's recycling rate and helping local authorities save on landfill costs.

Waste picker Bulelani Sithole said he had been unable to do his daily job due to the national stay-at-home measures, but the food parcel he was waiting for would "keep us alive".

The provisions were donated by food suppliers and passed out by the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality with the help of other private sector companies.

South Africa imposed a national lockdown in March as it sought to control the spread of the coronavirus, which has since been extended until the end of April.

As of early Monday the country has reported 2,173 cases, the most in Africa, and 25 deaths linked to the virus.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks.

For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and could lead to death.