Lockdown: SA likely to remain on Level 1, as govt expected to move to increase vaccinations

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President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa
  • South Africa is likely to remain on alert Level 1 with no changes to any restrictions.
  • The government is instead proposing a much more vigorous vaccination campaign to increase uptake.
  • Mandatory vaccines may also be an option if the situation worsens, government sources told News24.

The government is proposing that the country remains on alert Level one, and if the Covid-19 infections increased, mandatory vaccination might be explored.

Well-placed insiders confirmed to News24 that part of the proposals included Covid-19 testing for travellers arriving in South Africa and better vaccination "mobilisation", which could consist of more Vooma weekends - an initiative aimed at increasing vaccinations.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Health Minister Joe Phaahla met with provincial premiers, MECs and metro mayors on Sunday.

Ramaphosa was scheduled to address the nation at 8pm on Sunday on recent developments.

According to sources, Ramaphosa was considering establishing a task team to look into the issue of mandatory vaccinations and the exclusion of the non-vaccinated.

READ | Covid-19: Australia detects first Omicron infections, US praises SA scientists

This would likely become an option if Covid-19 infections increased.

The country was to remain on alert Level 1 with no major adjustment or changes to restrictions.

Efforts were also underway to ensure safe and effective border management, and a negative test would be an entry requirement.

The government also hoped to ramp up its communication strategy, particularly on behaviour change, in a bid to increase the uptake of Covid-19 vaccinations.

Part of the government's message would be to re-emphasise non-pharmaceutical interventions such as mask wearing, sanitising, hand washing, hygiene, outside activity, and limiting large crowds.

There would also be ongoing consultation and regular engagement on workplace measures.

Insiders told News24 that there had been an acknowledgment for the need to move away from the Disaster Management Act as a framework to manage Covid-19.

Other proposals included engaging the World Health Organisation on how variants were dealt with and not having a knee-jerk approach.

READ HERE | Omicron variant: South Africa being 'punished' by international community, says Dirco

Sunday's meeting with the country's premiers  and MECs zoomed in on the impact of the new Omicron coronavirus variant first detected in Botswana and South Africa.

The variant had led to countries shutting its borders to travellers from southern Africa.

Soon after borders were closed to African travellers, countries worldwide closed borders to each other and implemented strict quarantines.

South Africa had recorded 3 220 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections to 2 958 548. The death toll stood at 89 791 after eight more deaths were reported.

A total of 25 274 889 vaccinations had been administered - 36 100 in the past 24 hours.

Cabinet was set to consider the recommendations on Sunday.

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