Ramaphosa thanks frontline workers for the commitment to fight against COVID-19

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has thanked frontline workers for their commitment to the fight against COVID-19. Delivering his New Year’s message, Ramaphosa commended healthcare workers, emergency personnel, law enforcement officials, volunteers, and others for their services in 2021.

“We are grateful for our men and women who are on the frontline every day fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. As we speak, many of these men and women are on duty, even at this hour. To our healthcare workers, emergency personnel, our policemen and women, our soldiers and many volunteers, we thank you for our commitment, to heal, to serve and protect us all.”

Meanwhile, Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) has criticised government’s decision to lift the midnight to 4 AM curfew from Friday night, saying it will put pressure on healthcare workers who have borne the brunt of the pandemic so far.

Government said on Thursday night the decision was based on scientific evidence that shows that the country has passed the peak of the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections.

However, Cosatu says easing the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions could lead to hospitals being overwhelmed by victims of alcohol-induced violence and car crashes.

It is also worried that COVID-19 infections could start spiking again which could force government to implement another hard lockdown.

Cosatu Spokesperson Sizwe Pamla says, ” Now you are going to have frontline workers in many health facilities all across the country really struggling to keep up with incidents of violence, car accidents and other problems and challenges that we have seen before, these frontline workers have not been given enough resources because of budget cuts. We all need to be partners in ensuring that resuscitate this economy in 2022 and for us, to that, we need to avoid being reckless and taking short term decisions that will be costly long term.”

Vaccination drive

President Cyril Ramaphosa also urged people who have not yet vaccinated against the coronavirus, to ensure they do so in order to protect themselves against severe illness, hospitalisation or death.

“We are thankful for the nearly 18-million South Africans who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccination remains our best protection against severe illness and hospitalisation for COVID-19. I want to call on all South Africans over the age of 12 who have not yet vaccinated to please go and do so as soon as possible Vaccination is safe, free and the responsible thing to do for yourselves and those around you.”

Ramaphosa delivered his New Year’s message to the nation.