Friday, 26 November 2021

Pretoria: President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to convene the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) this Sunday to discuss developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic – including the emergence of a new variant, B.1.1.529.

In a statement on Friday, Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele said the outcomes of that meeting and further consultations will be “communicated in the coming days”.

Gungubele said the detection of variant B.1.1.529 is testament to the high level of scientific ability at the National Institute for Communicable Disease (NICD).

“The detection by the…NICD of a new Coronavirus variant demonstrates South Africa’s constant vigilance and scientific capability in our management of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NICD is in intensive engagement with all established surveillance systems to understand the new variant and what the potential implications could be.

“While this work continues, South Africans must take all measures to protect themselves against Coronavirus infection, beginning with vaccination against COVID-19,” he said.

The Minister implored those living in South Africa to take extra precautions when exercising COVID-19 protocols – warning that the virus remains a real health risk.

“Alongside vaccination, the wearing of face masks, frequent washing or sanitation of hands, keeping a social distance and the avoidance of gatherings remain a proven, effective means of stopping or slowing the spread of coronavirus infection.

“The virus has not been eradicated and vaccination protects us from serious illness, hospitalisation or death,” he said.

Minister Gungubele implored those living in the country to get the jab ahead of the looming fourth wave of COVID-19 infections.

“Vaccination is free to all people living in South Africa, and anyone aged 12 years and older is encouraged to vaccinate. Government urges all South Africans to vaccinate and to remain disciplined in applying the known safety measures, to ensure a safe and joyful festive season with families and friends”.