Health Minister Joe Phaahla says South Africans will only know about two weeks after the Local Government Elections whether voting will be a COVID-19 super spreader event. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases says 55 more people have succumbed to COVID-19 related complications in the past 24-hour period. This puts the death toll at 89 104.

The institute says 553 new coronavirus infections have been reported, taking active cases to 18 568.

Phaahla has called on all political parties to adhere to the COVID-19 restrictions, saying this coming week is a high-risk period for the spread of the virus.

“The next three days before the elections, especially over this weekend, today, tomorrow and Sunday are going to be very risky. In fact they may be the most riskiest in the sense that all political parties will be rallying their supporters. We, therefore, appeal to all political parties to approach their final push, the gathering of the final push with caution,” says Phaahla.

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla sounds a warning about the possible risk of the upcoming voting period:

Phaahla is confident that at least 40% of all adults will either be completely or partially vaccinated by the middle of November and 70% by December.

Phaahla says to boost the vaccination roll out they have partnered with commercial grocery stores to give vouchers to people over 60 who get vaccinated in November.

The department has entered into an agreement with the IEC to have pop-up vaccination sites in at least 1 000 voting stations, nationally.

Phaahla says the vaccination sites will be inside the voting precinct but will not interfere with the voting process.

“To make it even more convenient to have just one trip, priority will be given to the use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which as we know is a one-dose vaccination so that people can only have one trip and not have to come back. But for those who prefer the Pfizer vaccine that will also be available. This will also cater for those who might just be needing their second dose,” says Phaahla.

SA’s readiness for COVID-19 4th wave with Prof. Salim Abdool Karim