Kubayi issues impassioned plea to SA to adhere to Covid-19 protocols

Amanda Khoza Presidency reporter
Acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi is asking South Africans to join the renewed fight against Covid-19.
Acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi is asking South Africans to join the renewed fight against Covid-19.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

It is your civil duty, when you see someone not adhering to the Covid-19 protocols, to tell them that their conduct is “unbecoming and unacceptable”.

This was stated by acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi who made a plea to the country to comply with non-pharmaceutical measures.

“We are pleading with you South Africans and we are pleading with you Gautengers. We can increase the restrictions but without your response, we will not be able to win this pandemic,” said Kubayi on Saturday.

During an impromptu media briefing on Saturday, Kubayi and a panel of experts said the Delta variant of Covid-19 was driving the third wave in SA. The announcement followed an emergency special meeting of the national coronavirus command council.

In the wake of the surge in infections, President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation at 8pm on Sunday to implement further restrictions.

During the briefing, Kubayi said South Africans need to assist front-line workers who are starting to show signs of fatigue.

“Please help us. We have reached a point where we need all of you to respond. We have reached a point where we need all of you to help us to bring the numbers down and help [people on the] front lines.

“Please give them hope, it is not a joke, people are being infected daily,” said Kubayi.

To political parties, she said, “We are appealing to you. We really are appealing to you, can we assist the government and the nation. The events, whether you deny that your event is a superspreader or not, it is not about that. It is scientifically proven that when you have a gathering of many people, that event will become a superspreader.

“Two wrongs, don’t make it right. Don’t argue that people are doing that, let’s help each other.

“Each one of us has a duty. Do your part, help us. When you do your part, you are encouraging others to not spread the virus in their conduct.”

Prof Tulio de Oliveira explained scientists will be gathering more data about the Delta variant, first identified in India, and its spread in SA in the next couple of days.

“What we are worried about is that it seems to be dominating all the infections.

 

“This variant spreads extremely fast and is in over 85 countries. In Africa it also seem to be very widespread. Not only is it spreading very fast but it is very quick to dominate.”

He said the variant was highly transmissible. “One thing we know is that transmission grows very, very fast ... What we did not expect is the higher rate of reinfection.”

His colleague, Richard Lessels, said the Delta variant was more transmissible than any other variant including the Beta and Alpha strains that were previously widespread in Europe and the US.

“If we can compare it to the original virus that first started spreading around the world, it is maybe twice as transmissible as that early virus.”

To control it, he said, we need to try harder with the basic preventive measures.

On vaccines, Prof Helen Rees said, “So far we have given conditional licences of different types to AstraZeneca, Pfizer and J&J vaccines. There are three vaccines that have been applied for and the Sinovac is at an advanced stage of review.

“The Sputnik is well under way in terms of review and a very new application has come in called Sinopharm. We don’t have the application for other vaccines such as Novavax and the Cuban vaccine.”

Rees said the faster the country gets vaccines to people, the better.

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