Media briefing Free State , 17 September by Minister of Health, DR Joe Phaahla.

Good morning to the Premier Mme Sisi Ntombela
Greetings to MEC Mme Montseng Tsiu, and other MECs present
MPLs, Councilors, Mayors and other public reps
Senior Officials
Ladies and gentlemen


I am very happy to be here in the Free State province to give support to our provincial leadership, the health workforce, whole of government, civil society and all of society working together with government in the fight against COVID-19. We are here to reinforce your efforts.

It is because of those efforts that we are making progress on two fronts.

A) The fight to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
B) Prevention of future severe waves through rollout of the vaccination program.

Thanks to the efforts we have all made, government and all of society workers together:

As of yesterday, there has been a 35% reduction in new cases as compared to the previous 7 days.
Hospitalization is down by 12.5%
Average positivity rate of tests is now at 9.3% and was 9% yesterday
Active cases are down by 2.5%
The W Cape, E Cape and KZN still reflect the highest numbers but are also down.

It is because of these positive developments that President Ramaphosa was able to announce relaxation of a number of restrictions on Sunday to allow more economic and social activities.
If we continue to comply with the personal health safety measures more relaxations will be possible. In this regard we call on all political parties to respect the regulations
while campaigning for votes starting this weekend with the registration of voters.

We are encouraged Honorable Premier by the steady decline of new infections in the Free State even though we believe we can do more to deal with the cluster outbreaks. Your province and your neighbor N Cape have struggled with this third wave. As of yesterday you were still fourth in percentage of total new cases after W Cape, E Cape and KZN at 12% of new cases. Later today we will discuss the interventions further.

B) The second part of our battle against COVID-19 against COVID-19 is prevention of severe future waves by rolling out vaccination.
We are making steady progress in this campaign.

By end of business yesterday we had administered 220 450 dose in 24 hours still short of 300 000/day target, Free State contributed 14 880 to this effort of yesterday, overall good progress.
Total doses administered by yesterday = 15 683 797
Total individuals with at least one dose = 11 206 735. Which is 28% of total adult population
Free State is number four in terms of percentage of adult population covered at 30%, being led by W Cape at 36.6%,
E Cape= 33%
Limpopo = 32%
F State = 30%
Total fully vaccinated = 7 734 069 which is 19.5% of total adult population.

As we know our target is that we must vaccinate 70% adults by mid December to avoid severe further infections when the fourth wave strikes. We are currently short of 17 million more people over 18 years to be vaccinated.

We are happy with the wide range of influential people in society who have joined the vaccination campaign.
We again want to repeat that vaccination has proven to seriously reduce the risk of serious illness, hospitalization, ICU and even death.
Through vaccination we can reclaim our social and economic lives by January 2022.
We can protect each other enough to again enjoy sports and recreation in our numbers. Our various sports fans, soccer, rugby, cricket, netball etc can start to aga cheer their teams and heroes in numbers.
We can enjoy our music festivals, Macufe can be back.

That is why we talk about vaccine certificate or passport. The aim is not to punish anyone but to know that we are protecting each other.
Our team working on this will be ready to present the plan to the coronavirus command council in about 10 days time. Not having the certificate will not prevent people from accessing essential public services such as Health, Education, Social Services etc.

The certificate will be used to access recreation, sports , arts and cultural activities in bigger numbers