SA to Remain on COVID-19 Alert Level 1, Ramaphosa Urges South Africans to Vaccinate to Reduce Impact of Fourth Wave

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the country will remain on Alert Level One of the COVID-19 lockdown. 

Ramaphosa was addressing the nation on Sunday night on developments in the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President’s address follows meetings of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) the President’s Coordinating Council and Cabinet.

The “Family Meeting” comes after the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) on Thursday confirmed that a new variant of the Coronavirus called Omicron had been detected in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong.

Ramaphosa says the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) met yesterday to consider the recent rise in infections and the possible impact of the Omicron variant.

“This was followed by meetings earlier today of the President’s Coordinating Council and Cabinet, where a decision was taken that the country should remain on Coronavirus Alert Level1 for now and that the National State of Disaster should remain in place.” 

Ramaphosa in taking the decision not to impose further restrictions the NCCC considered the fact that when South Africa encountered previous waves of infection, vaccines were not widely available and far fewer people were vaccinated.

“However, this approach will not be sustainable if we do not increase the vaccination rate, if we do not wear masks, or if we fail to adhere to basic health precautions.” 

Ramaphosa says Government has set up a task team that will undertake broad consultations on making vaccination mandatory for specific activities and locations.

“The task team will report to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Vaccination chaired by the Deputy President, which will make recommendations to Cabinet on a fair and sustainable approach to vaccine mandates.” 

Ramaphosa has urged South Africans to vaccinate

“Vaccination is by far the most important way to protect yourself and those around you against the Omicron variant, to reduce the impact of the fourth wave.”

Ramaphosa also says South Africa is deeply disappointed by the decision of a number of countries banning entry from the country and other countries because of the Omicron variant.

He has calls on nations who imposed travel restrictions on South Africa to immediately lift these bans.

“The restrictions on SA are completely unjustified. Ramaphosa. It’s not informed by science. It will further damage the economies of affected countries.”

Ramaphosa says mass gatherings such as major conferences and meetings, especially those that require a large number of people to be in close contact over extended periods, should be changed to virtual formats.

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