NATIONAL NEWS - President Cyril Ramaphosa will soon address the nation on the government’s Covid-19 response.
That is according to acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni who said on Thursday the Cabinet was consulting on measures to mitigate against the imminent third wave of the pandemic.
“As the Cabinet, we are discussing and consulting on measures to make sure that we protect South Africans. A decision will be taken soon after the consultations and we will announce the date when the president will host a ‘family meeting’,” Ntshavheni said.
The minister was speaking at a post-Cabinet briefing in Pretoria after the national executive met on Wednesday at a virtual meeting.
South Africa is not yet in the grips of the third wave of the pandemic, but health experts and the Department of Health warned of a steady rise in new Covid-19 cases daily.
There has been speculation that the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), which met on Tuesday, could move the country to a higher lockdown level.
There are fears the NCCC could impose restrictions on alcohol sales, gatherings and a change to the national curfew. South Africa is currently under lockdown level 1.
Government preparing for third wave
Ntshavheni said the government was noticing a spike in new Covid-19 infections and related deaths. It was preparing for a third wave.
She said the Cabinet was encouraged that more than 2 million people had already registered to be vaccinated.
“The Cabinet further reminded South Africans of an imminent third wave and reiterated the importance of preventing the transmission of Covid-19 by strictly adhering to the non-pharmaceutical interventions of wearing a mask in public, maintaining social distancing and frequently washing hands with soap and water or using a sanitiser which is 70% alcohol-based,” she said.
On Wednesday, 4,623 new Covid-19 cases were recorded, bringing the total number of cases confirmed in the country to 1,645,555.
There were 102 Covid-19 related deaths, pushing the number of total fatalities to 56,077. The total number of vaccines administered nationwide stood at 761,903.
The Cabinet last met earlier this month on 12 May 2021 and reconfirmed the commencement of phase two of the country’s vaccine rollout.
The vaccination drive has been targeting healthcare workers and people aged 60 years and older.
Ntshavheni said the Cabinet was pleased with the vaccination rollout so far.
“Vaccination sites across the country are ready to assist those who have been already allocated a vaccination slot. The Cabinet urges South Africans to wait to be invited to a vaccination site as per the individual slot,” she said.
Ntshavheni added that the health department was working to ensure senior citizens are vaccinated before the third wave hits.