Most South Africans had never heard the phrase "flatten the curve" before last week. Nor "social distancing". A week ago, the horror-movie script of a global shutdown caused by Covid-19 was far-fetched. Now it’s reality.

But it’s a strange reality, isn’t it. The calls to work from home and "self-isolate" are all well and good for the middle classes with an office job that involves sitting in front of a computer. For the working class, it’s an entirely different story...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now