Troops fire rubber bullets at shoppers to enforce coronavirus social distancing

Soldiers ordered to maintain strict coronavirus social-distancing measures have started to fire rubber bullets at queuing grocery shoppers in a bid to keep them two metres apart.

The South African army deployed fighters in the Yeovill neighbourhood on Saturday, where a crowd of a few hundred people had gathered outside a grocery store.

It was the second day of a 21-day lockdown President Cyril imposed upon the country in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The soldiers wore face masks and gloves to protect them from infection while they patrolled the crowd.

Shocking images obtained by The Guardian show scared bystanders huddled together as they were confronted with the firearms.

Domestic worker Emily Ndemande, who lives in Alexandra, South Africa said: “We are staying home now, before we were going to the shops, but the soldiers are beating people so everyone is inside now.”

Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, told The Guardian: "These are people have a good will, people who are doing exactly what they were told not to do."

Military later patrolled Johannesburg and officials said as of Friday, 55 people had been arrested for coronavirus-related offences.

Other ministers reportedly praised “enormously high levels of cooperation by tens of millions of South Africans who have followed the call by the president to stay at home.”

South Africa has reported a rise of more than 1,100 confirmed cases in recent weeks, with the virus taking the life of one person in the country.

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Coronavirus could post a risk to South Africans as there are millions who are vulnerable because of HUV or malnutrition.

Despite efforts to improve healthcare in the country, the South African system has had an acute lack of resources and resources remain depleted.

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