South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday criticized developed countries that have introduced flight bans to south Africa over a new variant of the coronavirus – the omicron. In his opinion, they should focus on helping developing countries to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Africa’s Minister of Health, Joe Phaahla, informed about the government’s efforts to reverse the decisions of some countries that decided to block air connections from South Africa. President Cyril Ramaphosa said that “instead of banning travel, wealthier nations should focus on helping developing countries fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Reuters Agency said.
The President of South Africa urges: do not postpone vaccinations
In a statement on Sunday, Ramaphosa called on South African citizens to undergo the vaccine. “Don’t put it off, go to the nearest station and get the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said. The politician added that the government has already established a special group to investigate the possibility of introducing mandatory vaccination for certain occupations and locations.
Ramaphosa pointed out that the omicron has been responsible for most of the cases identified in the last two weeks in the northern province of Gauteng, and is now present in all other provinces of the country.
The president also announced that he had rejected the possibility of introducing new restrictions, which he argued with the ongoing vaccination campaign in the country. South Africa now has a midnight to 4am curfew, limiting gatherings to 750 people in closed facilities, and limiting participants in funerals and night vigils to 100 people. Wearing masks in public places is compulsory.
Vaccinations in South Africa
South African epidemiologist prof. Salim Abdool Karim admitted that existing COVID-19 vaccines “are likely to protect against serious disease resulting from infection with the omicron variant.”
To date, 35.6 percent of the adult population has been fully vaccinated in the country, according to data on South African government sites. Over the last seven days, there were an average of 1.6 thousand. new infections daily.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / NIC BOTHMA