Eastern Cape Premier Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane has called for calm, following the emergence of a new variant of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), also known as the B.1.1.529 variant or Omicron, a new mutation of the virus that was recently discovered in South Africa.
Mabuyane has urged residents of the province together with those who will be returning from other provinces and elsewhere to maintain a steadfast compliance to basic non-pharmaceutical interventions, while helping to contain the spread of the virus and minimize the rate of new infections.
"We call on each of us in our family units, communities as well as society gatherings over this festive period, to be reminded of the sacrifices that have already been made since the advent of the Novel Coronavirus nearly two years ago now," Mabuyane said.
He added that many jobs had been shed largely due to the necessary Adjusted Level National Lockdown in order to save lives.
"This has had devastating consequences for the poor and working class as businesses shut down. However, we are now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have largely managed to stabilise the infections rate curve as well as the rate of new infections. We have managed to get here because we have largely supported the COVID-19 mitigation strategy and safety regulations.
"Our economy which has been battered but has weathered the storm is now starting to rebound, while the numbers are still very low there are more people returning to the workplace as the economy reopens. We dare not let the gains we have made slip away from our grasp, we dare not allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security, even those among us who have been vaccinated must continue to adhere to the established safety norms to manage this pandemic," the Premier added.
Mabuyane indicated the next few days and weeks to serve as a period of learning on all matters Omicron variant, including best practices of confronting it. He further appealed for calm and encouraged a concerted effort by the collective in the fight against this deadly virus.