SA to stay at lockdown level 1 – for now, says command council
SA's lockdown restrictions will stay at level 1 even as the country heads into the holiday season, the health department said on Thursday.
The national coronavirus command council (NCCC) has decided to maintain the existing restrictions despite a surge of confirmed Covid-19 cases as the Omicron variant of the virus continues to spread.
SA recorded its highest ever daily number of Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, with 26,976 new cases confirmed from 83,864 tests, giving a positivity rate of 32.2%.
A further 54 Covid-19-related deaths were also reported, bringing total fatalities to 90,226 to date.
Health minister Dr Joe Phaahla called on South Africans to be responsible and comply with Covid-19 prevention and treatment protocols during the holiday season, as well as urging people to get vaccinated.
“We call upon all travellers, especially those who are unvaccinated or partly vaccinated coming from areas declared hotspots, to get vaccinated before hitting the roads to protect their families and friends," he said.
Police minister Bheki Cele also urged travellers to get vaccinated before heading home or going on holiday.
"The vaccines remain our best defence by reducing risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and death," Cele said at a briefing on SA's security preparations before the holiday rush began.
"Get your jab before you socialise, visit relatives and go on vacation," he said.
The health department said it would continue to closely monitor daily infections, hospitalisations, mortality and recovery rates, and would make the necessary recommendations to the NCCC, said Phaahla.
Vaccination sites would remain operational while pop-up sites would open at certain public places such as malls, community sports venues and roadblocks.
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