Photo: LUCA SOLA / AFP
Photo: LUCA SOLA / AFP
President Cyril Ramaphosa has published his weekly letter to the nation, encouraging all citizens to get their COVID-19 vaccines immediately. The 69-year-old makes his plea as the Omicron strain of the virus rips through Mzansi, sending case numbers soaring in the past two weeks. Alas, further lockdown measures could follow as a result.
Ramaphosa addressed the nation eight days ago, and initially, he didn’t blink. The head of state introduced no new lockdown regulations, and instead floated the idea of vaccine mandates. A task team is currently reviewing where ‘vax passports’ can and cannot be used, in an attempt to put a lid on our high infection rates.
“Scientific evidence shows that vaccination is the most effective means of preventing the spread of new infections, and that vaccines reduce severe illness, hospitalisation and death. As every day passes, and as infections rise, the reasons to get vaccinated become more compelling and the need becomes ever more urgent.”
“Vaccines are safe, and like all other routine vaccinations we received as children and against diseases like measles, they offer the most potent form of protection available. Vaccination is essential for our economic recovery, because as more people are vaccinated more areas of economic activity will be opened up.”Cyril Ramaphosa
Over 60% of adults are unvaccinated in South Africa – and these numbers could force Ramaphosa’s hand. Although jabs cannot stop the spread of COVID-19 entirely, they give the individual a superb level of protection against severe illness and death from this virus. Omicron is now hospitalising more people, and that’s a problem going forward.
Therefore, Cyril is weighing up a set of new lockdown measures. The NCCC are set to meet later this week to ‘review the state of the pandemic’, with a presidential address to the nation likely to follow.
“In the coming days and weeks we will know more about the Omicron variant. At the same time, we are keeping a close eye on the rates of infection and hospitalisation. I call on all South Africans to go and get vaccinated, without delay.”
“We will soon be convening a meeting of the National Coronavirus Command Council to review the state of the pandemic. This will enable us to take whatever further measures are needed to keep people safe and healthy.”Cyril Ramaphosa