Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, has appealed for people to avoid indoor gatherings, due to the high transmissibility of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.
VIDEO: Health ministry briefs media on the national vaccination rollout program:
South Africa’s COVID-19 cases have surpassed the 3 million mark with 16 055 new cases reported in the latest 24-hours. Accumulative cases now stand at 3 004 203.
Over 16 000 cases were identified in the latest 24-hours, representing a 24.3 % positivity rate.
Phaahla has reiterated the call for people who haven’t received their second Pfizer dose to complete their vaccinations.
“We call on all those who have not completed the full vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine to do so. There are many who have taken only one dose even though they have long been due for the 2nd dose. We really appeal to them to come forward and complete their vaccination so they can be fully protected because what we have also seen is while having at least one dose does provide some protection, but it is just not enough because it does not provide the full protection which is required,” says Phaahla.
He says, “All adults and children over the age of 12 are eligible for vaccinations. This 4th wave, which we haven’t started to enter into, can be managed without too many casualties or loss of life if we all observe the safety measures. The biggest risk is the gatherings, especially indoor gatherings. So if we need to have gatherings let’s make sure it happens outside where there is fresh air,” Phaahla says.
Phaahla warned that the COVID-19 Omicron variant is highly transmissible, with data showing its presence in all nine provinces.
He says, “Over the last seven days, the new spike has moved through the whole of Gauteng, and it is also registering a presence in all nine provinces with numbers starting to rise in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga, all with high positivity rates. While we are dealing with a few days and limited data, the indications are that this variant is highly transmissible, including infections of people who have been vaccinated but the infections are causing mostly mild illness, especially for those who are vaccinated.”
The Department of Health has urged people to get their COVID-19 jabs during the Vooma-Vaccination weekend.
The Department has declared 3-10 December as Vooma Week, in a big push to vaccinate people ahead of the festive break.