President Cyril Ramaphosa Constitutional Court

President Cyril Ramaphosa is recovering from Covid-19. Photo: GCIS

Ramaphosa has spoken: Here’s the new lockdown guidance for SA

Cyril Ramaphosa has set the agenda for South Africa going forward, explaining that vaccination is the only way to fight the Omicron variant.

President Cyril Ramaphosa Constitutional Court

President Cyril Ramaphosa is recovering from Covid-19. Photo: GCIS

Cyril Ramaphosa returned to give us a family meeting that came with an ultimatum. With over 60% of South Africans still not fully vaccinated, the president made it clear that more citizens need to get their jabs – warning of catastrophic consequences if immunisation rates remain low while the Omicron variant is spreading.

Ramaphosa pleads with South Africans to get vaccinated

There wasn’t much in the way of change this evening. It was more of a stern talking-to, rather than a seismic family meeting. In terms of new restrictions, there was actually very little to write home about. But Ramaphosa did make it clear there was only one way out of this Omicron-fuelled mess.

He threw the gauntlet down to the vaccine-hesitant, the sceptics, and those who are simply unable to get off the fence. South Africa is going to miss its target of having 70% of the population fully vaccinated by the end of 2021, even if rates pick up between now and New Year’s Eve. South Africa does have a vaccine problem, but it’s demand – not supply.

What the Omicron variant means for South Africa

The Omicron variant has changed things. This time last week, daily new infections were in the low hundreds. They are now above 3 000. The official challenger to Delta has a series of worrying mutations, which may cause it to spread quicker and slightly reduce the efficacy of our vaccines.

However, a number of prominent scientists believe at this point, the vaccines WILL provide protection against serious infection for those coming down with the Omicron strain. That’s why President Ramaphosa is placing all of his chips on the anti-COVID shots, with the end goal of keeping hospital beds – and mortuaries – as empty as possible.

Omicron latest: Ramaphosa announces ‘new guidance’ during lockdown Level 1

Unlike his international colleagues, Ramaphosa chose a more measured response to the Omicron outbreak. New restrictions are few and far between as it stands, but make no mistake, things are definitely changing in the days and weeks ahead – and the president is looking to clampdown on ‘anti-vaccine’ sentiment…

  • Ramaphosa says he is working with social partners to look into the introduction of vaccine mandates.
  • The government will now consult where vaccines should be made mandatory, in specific locations, and for certain activities.
  • A task team will also be set up, to determine where compulsory vaccination can be implemented.
  • Ramaphosa has advised people to avoid large indoor gatherings, such as business conferences or rage parties.
  • He made a specific plea to matric rage events, asking them to postpone their events.
  • Ramaphosa says South Africa will look to ‘move away’ from State of Disaster laws… once vaccine rates increase.
  • SA remains on Level 1 of lockdown. No further restrictions will be implemented.