President Cyril Ramaphosa has dismissed rumours that the COVID 19 vaccination program will be compulsory for all citizens. This as the first batch of AstraZeneca doses arrived at the OR Tambo International Airport India on Monday.
Ramaphosa says no one will be forced to take the COVID-19 vaccine and it will not be manufactured in dark corners.
“Nobody will be given this vaccine against their will nor will the vaccine be administered in some corners. Any rumours to this effect are both false and dangerous. And we would like to ask those who are spreading these romours to stop.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation:
The first one million shots of the vaccine will be used to inoculate healthcare workers amid a surge in infections fuelled by a new variant of the coronavirus. Ramaphosa has pleaded with the nation to do what’s necessary to keep infections down.
The President has outlined the government’s plan to roll out the vaccine in different phases. He says provincial health departments have submitted their distribution plans.
“We have identified about 200 facilities throughout the country through which the vaccines can be distributed. Healthcare workers will be the first to receive the vaccine.
“ Once we have completed the vaccination of healthcare workers, we will move to phase two of the national vaccine strategy which will include essential workers, people over 60 years, people with comorbidities, in other words, other health challenges. In phase three we will extend the vaccination process to the rest of the adult population.”
Ban on alcohol sale, distribution lifted
Following days of consultations with experts and representatives of provincial and local government and traditional leaders, Ramaphosa says the sale of alcohol by licensed premises for on-site consumption such as restaurants and taverns will be permitted throughout the week from 10 am to 10 pm.
While South Africa remains under Lockdown Level 3, certain restrictions have been lifted. The President says the changes have been made possible by the significant reduction in COVID-19 hospital admissions across all provinces.
He says the sale of alcohol by licensed premises for off-site consumption will be permitted from Mondays to Thursdays, from 10 am to 6 pm.
“Duty-free shops, registered wineries, wine farms, micro-breweries, and micro-distilleries will be able to sell alcohol for off-site consumption during their normal licensed operating hours.”
He has attributed easing of restrictions to the lowest daily infections recorded since December last year. Ramaphosa says this is an indication that the country has passed the peak of the second wave.
The Department of Health has developed an electronic data system to capture data associated with the administration of the rollout of the vaccine. “This system allows a person to make an appointment as soon as they qualify for vaccination at a vaccine centre closest to where they are. The system will record vaccinations as they administered.”
The Presidency says under this Alert Level 3, several prevention measures will remain in place.
The hours of the curfew will now be from 11pm to 4am. “Establishments will need to close by 10pm to allow their customers and staff to return home by curfew.”
Gatherings may not exceed 50 people for indoor venues and 100 persons for outdoor venues.
“Social gatherings, political events, traditional council meetings and gatherings at sports grounds will not be permitted.”
SA receives first batch of vaccine
Earlier on Monday, the first batch of one million doses of AstraZeneca landed at OR Tambo International Airport this afternoon. Received with as much delight as relief by a government delegation.