Former head of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19, Salim Abdool Karim, says that South Africa could be ready to ease pandemic restrictions further as infection rates have declined.
It has been two years since the first COVID-19 cases were confirmed in South Africa.
Karim has, however, warned that we may not be out of the woods yet, given the nature of the pandemic and its past trends.
He says that the country saw a slight uptick of infections when the omicron variant subsided, which was driven by the BA2 variant, when schools reopened this year, therefore caution is still necessary.
“So, it’s a different version of omicron, but it’s not causing outbreaks. One has to be careful when timing it appropriately, we don’t want to end up with a situation where we take action and then it leads to a new outbreak.
So, I think we can drop most of our restrictions. I would say that we probably need to keep at least three of our restrictions in place. We have to keep some restrictions on large indoor mass gatherings.”
Below is the full interview with Professor Salim Abdool Karim, Director of CAPRISA and the former head of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19:
Vaccinologist Dr Shabir Madhi said people who are considered as high-risk COVID-19 patients should be advised to continue wearing face masks in indoor spaces that are poorly ventilated.
The National Coronavirus Command Council is expected to meet this week to review the current COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
Below is the interview with Prof Madhi on SAFm Sunrise:
Madhi said mask restrictions could be eased for some age groups, such as learners in schools.
“That’s if we have high-risk individuals, in particular, who are in indoor spaces that are poorly ventilated and when there is a surge in a number of cases. But on a day-to-day basis, at this point in time, for people to be using face masks there is absolutely no reason, and outdoors.”
“There is no reason for children to still be wearing face masks in schools – especially since they don’t wear the right type of face masks and they don’t do it correctly. We aren’t doing them any good by insisting that they continue wearing face masks in school, as an example.”