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LIVE | SA to remain on Level 1, govt mulls mandatory vaccinations as 4th wave looms

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11m ago

PCRs detect Omicron, studies underway for other tests: WHO

While PCR tests can detect infection with Omicron, studies are looking to whether the Covid-19 variant of concern has any impact on other test types, the WHO said Sunday.

"The widely-used PCR tests continue to detect infection, including infection with Omicron, as we have seen with other variants," the World Health Organisation said in an update on what is known so far about the new variant.

"Studies are ongoing to determine whether there is any impact on other types of tests, including rapid antigen detection tests."

The WHO on Friday declared Omicron, first detected earlier this month in southern Africa, to be a variant of concern.

The classification put Omicron into the most troubling category of Covid-19 variants, along with the globally dominant Delta, and its weaker rivals Alpha, Beta and Gamma.

Omicron spread across the globe on Sunday, shutting borders and renewing curbs as the EU chief said governments faced a "race against time" to understand the strain.

The variant has cast doubt on global efforts to battle the pandemic due to fears that it is highly infectious, forcing countries to reimpose measures many had hoped were a thing of the past.

- AFP

15m ago

Rwanda suspends direct flights to and from southern Africa due to the new Covid-19 variant – Prime Minister’s office

- Reuters

37m ago

UK calls urgent meeting of G7 health ministers

Britain, currently chair of the G7 group of nations, on Sunday called for an emergency meeting to discuss the Covid crisis, after several European countries announced cases of the new Omicron variant.

"Under the UK presidency an urgent meeting of G7 health ministers will also be convened on Monday 29 November to discuss the developments on Omicron," said Britain's health ministry.

- AFP

43m ago

Keep borders open as we tackle new Covid variant: WHO

The head of the World Health Organization in Africa on Sunday urged countries to follow the science rather than imposing flight bans in a bid to contain the new Omicron coronavirus variant.

"With the Omicron variant now detected in several regions of the world, putting in place travel bans that target Africa attacks global solidarity," said WHO regional director general Matshidiso Moeti.

"Travel restrictions may play a role in slightly reducing the spread of Covid-19 but place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods," the WHO said in a statement.

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1h ago

FULL TEXT | Ramaphosa announces SA to remain on Level 1, calls on countries to lift 'unjustified' travel restrictions

My Fellow South Africans, 

Earlier this week, our scientists identified a new variant of the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 disease. The World Health Organisation has named it Omicron and has declared it a ‘variant of concern’. 

The Omicron variant was first described in Botswana and subsequently in South Africa, and scientists have also identified cases in countries such as Hong Kong, Australia, Belgium, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Denmark and Israel.

The early identification of this variant is a result of the excellent work done by our scientists in South Africa and is a direct result of the investment that our Science and Innovation and Health Departments have made in our genomic surveillance capabilities. We are one of the countries in the world that set up a surveillance network throughout the country to help us monitor the behaviour of Covid-19. 

READ FULL SPEECH

1h ago

The President's address has come to an end.

- Jason Felix

1h ago

"We should not panic. We have to live with this pandemic. We will endure and we will overcome," Ramaphosa says.

- Jason Felix

1h ago

Ramaphosa - Every one of us needs to get vaccinated because it's the best tool that we have.

- Warda Meyer

1h ago

Ramaphosa says the world would have to live with the virus for some time.

- Jason Felix

1h ago

Vaccine inequality cannot continue, Ramaphosa says. Until everyone is vaccinated, more variants will emerge, he says.

- Jason Felix

1h ago

Ramaphosa calls on nations who imposed travel restrictions on SA, to immediately lift these bans.

- Jason Felix

1h ago

Ramaphosa calls on nations who imposed travel restrictions on SA, to immediately lift these bans.

- Jason Felix

1h ago

The restrictions on SA are completely unjustified. Ramaphosa: "It's not informed by science. It will further damage the economies of affected countries."

- Jason Felix

1h ago

Ramaphosa says we are deeply disappointed by the decision of a number of countries banning entry from SA and other countries because of the Omicron variant.

- Jason Felix

1h ago

Ramaphosa says preparations are underway to ensure that South Africa's hospitals and clinics are ready for the fourth wave. Oxygen supply will also be made available for those in need.

- Jason Felix

1h ago

Ramaphosa says preparations are underway to ensure that South Africa's hospitals and clinics are ready for the fourth wave. Oxygen supply will also be made available for those in need.

- Jason Felix

1h ago

Ramaphosa says preparations are underway to ensure that South Africa's hospitals and clinics are ready for the fourth wave. Oxygen supply will also be made available for those in need.

- Jason Felix

1h ago

Ramaphosa - We will implement our national resurgence plan to ensure hospitals and other medical facilities are made ready for the fourth wave.

- Warda Meyer

1h ago

Ramaphosa - We will implement our national resurgence plan to ensure hospitals and other medical facilities are made ready for the fourth wave.

- Warda Meyer

1h ago

Ramaphosa says the situation will be reviewed within a week and if necessary changes will be made.

- Jason Felix

1h ago

Ramaphosa reminds South Africans of the curfew between 00:00 and 04:00.

- Jason Felix

1h ago

Ramaphosa - We consider the fact that when we encountered previous waves, vaccines were not readily available but now it's available to anyone age 12 and above.

- Warda Meyer

1h ago

Ramaphosa says further restrictions won't be implemented. The country will remain on alert Level 1.

- Jason Felix

1h ago

Ramaphosa says further restrictions won't be implemented. The country will remain on alert Level 1.

- Jason Felix

1h ago

Ramaphosa says matric rage festivals, staff parties and other large conference gatherings should be avoided.

- Jason Felix

1h ago

Talks around mandatory vaccines for certain locations and activities are ongoing. A task will report to the interministerial committee on vaccines.

"If we don't address this urgently we will vulnerable to new variants," Ramaphosa says.

- Jason Felix

1h ago

Ramaphosa says South Africa is currently looking at booster vaccines. Healthcare workers are first in line to receive the J&J booster shot. A third Pfizer vaccine shot might also be introduced.

- Jason Felix

1h ago

The President calls on every South African to get vaccinated.

"We still have too many people who express doubt. This is the time to get vaccinated."

- Jason Felix

1h ago

Ramaphosa says the nation has a powerful tool called vaccination. It has dramatically reduced death. So far over 25 million vaccine doses have been administered in SA.

"It's the most significant health undertaken in the country, in such a short time," Ramaphosa says

- Jason Felix

2h ago

Ramaphosa says the rise in infections has been sharp and that South Africans can expect a fourth wave in the next few weeks, if not earlier. We should expect it in early December.

- Jason Felix

2h ago

Ramaphosa says the variant is different and it is not directly related to the Delta or Beta variant. It is also responsible for most infections in Gauteng in the last two weeks and elsewhere in the country.

"There are things we don't know about the variant yet," says Ramaphosa.

- Jason Felix

2h ago

Ramaphosa says the early identification of the variant is the excellent work of SA's scientists. The President also praises SA's scientists for their excellent work.

- Jason Felix

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