November 30, 2021

Government to hold meetings on new Covid variant and possible lockdown restrictions: health minister

Health minister Joe Phaalha says that the invention of the new B.1.1.529 Covid variant remains to be ‘very fresh news’ and has caught the federal government without warning, with health officers and scientists nonetheless monitoring the state of affairs to decide the way it may affect South Africa.

Phaalha stated that the federal government was solely absolutely briefed on the new variant on Thursday morning (25 November) and expects to obtain additional information over the weekend.

He added that meetings will likely be held with authorities officers, president Cyril Ramaphosa’ cupboard, and the Nationwide Coronavirus Command Council within the coming days to focus on possible intervention measures and restrictions.

Whereas Phaahla stated that it was too early to predict what the precise line of motion will likely be, he famous that the federal government has learnt numerous classes over the previous 21 months on what causes a Covid-19 wave to emerge and how to stop the unfold of a new variant.

He particularly famous a rise in journey out of Gauteng over the December vacation interval as a possible explanation for concern.

Professor Tulio de Oliveira stated that the variant caught authorities and specialists without warning.

“This variant did surprise us and it has many more mutations than expected,” he stated. “It is spreading very fast and we expect to see pressure in the healthcare system in the next few days and weeks.” 

The Nationwide Institute for Communicable Ailments (NICD) issued an alert on Thursday (25 November), confirming that the variant has been detected within the nation, with extra circumstances to be confirmed as sequencing outcomes come out.

The NICD warned that detected circumstances of the new variant and the variety of folks testing constructive are each rising rapidly, notably in Gauteng, the North West and Limpopo.

“It is not surprising that a new variant has been detected in South Africa,” stated Professor Adrian Puren, NICD appearing govt director. “Although the data is limited, our experts are working overtime with all established surveillance systems to understand the new variant and what the potential implications could be.”

He assured the general public that the state of affairs was being monitored and that the general public could be saved up to date. Provincial health authorities stay on excessive alert and are prioritising the sequencing of constructive samples, he stated.

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