Citizen Reporter
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2 minute read
29 Nov 2021
10:15 am

WATCH LIVE: Health minister unpacks Ramaphosa’s Covid-19 address

Citizen Reporter

South Africans will also be given insight into the country's state of readiness to respond to the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron.

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla. Picture: @HealthZA/Twitter

Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla and Deputy Minister of Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo will provide more information after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Covid-19 address to the nation on Sunday night.

A panel of scientists will also be at the media briefing to answer questions.

Phaahla, Dhlomo and the scientists will also be presenting South Africa’s state of readiness to respond to the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron.

On Sunday night, Ramaphosa announced that South Africa would remain on level 1 lockdown, but warned that government was looking into implementing mandatory vaccines for South Africans, to restrict access to certain places and participation in some activities.

He said a task team would be appointed for this.

ALSO READ: Omicron updates: Emergency measures as variant spreads around the globe

Ramaphosa added that the identification of the Omicron variant coincided with the sudden rise of Covid-19 infections in the country.

“We have seen an average of 1,600 new cases in the last seven days compared to just 500 new daily cases in the previous week and 275 new daily cases the week before that.”

He said the best way to fight it was to get vaccinated.

“Since the first Covid-19 vaccines have become available, we have seen how vaccines dramatically reduce severe illness, hospitalisation and death in South Africa and across the world. Vaccines do work and they do save lives.”

ALSO READ: SA to remain on level 1 lockdown, talks about mandatory vaccines underway

Ramaphosa said South Africa was better equipped to respond to the Omicron variant, and that there were a number of things scientists already know about it:

  • Omicron has far more mutations than previous variants.
  • Omicron is readily detected by the current Covid-19 tests. This means that people who are showing Covid-19 symptoms or who have been in touch with someone who has been exposed to Covid-19 should still get tested.
  • This variant is different from other circulating variants and it is not directly related to the Delta or Beta variants.

NOW READ: These are the Omicron variant symptoms to look out for

Additional reporting by Xanet Scheepers