Tebogo Msimanga |
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday night on developments in the country’s response to the COVID 19 pandemic. Ramaphosa reiterated that the early detection of Omicron variant and the work that has already gone into understanding its properties and possible effects means that they are better equipped to respond to the variant.
He spoke very strongly against countries that imposed a travel ban on South Africa.
Ramaphosa said since the first COVID-19 vaccines became available late last year,they have seen how vaccines have dramatically reduced severe illness, hospitalisation and death in South Africa and across the world. “Vaccines do work. Vaccines are saving lives.”
President further said the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Vaccines has already indicated that it will recommend a staged introduction of boosters commencing with the older population.
Ramaphosa added that the 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.
“We realise that the introduction of such measures is a difficult and complex issue, but if we do not address this seriously and as a matter of urgency, we will continue to be vulnerable to new variants and will continue to suffer new waves of infection.”
The country is on alert Level 1 for now.