To: Editors & Health Journalists
Issued by: Department of Health
Date: Thursday, 16 December 2021
Health Minister calls for compliance with COVID-19 prevention and treatment during festive period
Pretoria: The Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla calls for responsible behaviour and stronger compliance with COVID-19 prevention and treatment protocols during the festive season as the National Coronavirus Command Council retains the Lockdown restrictions at Adjusted Level 1.
The NCCC has reflected on the current COVID-19 situation and deliberated on number of recommendations tabled by the Department of Health as part of safety measures to prevent a possible surge in COVID-19 infections during the festive period, which is associated with all sorts of social gatherings like parties and weddings, which can be ‘super spreader’ events that carry a huge risk of transmission of the virus.
The Council has directed the department to closely monitor the rising COVID-19 infections, hospitalisations, mortality and recovery rates which are largely driven by Omicron variant, which is contributing to the 4th wave in the country.
According to scientific studies, this virus is spreading quicker than in previous waves, but the rates of hospitalisations and deaths remain relatively low.
Therefore, it is on our hands to maintain the current break in the clouds into a lasting sunshine in order to have safer and joyous Christmas, and prosperous New Year celebrations.
“We call upon all travellers, especially those who are unvaccinated or partly vaccinated coming from areas declared hotspots, to get vaccinated before hitting the roads to protect their families and friends they will be visiting during this period associated with large social gatherings like parties and weddings, which can be ‘super spreader’ events that carry a huge risk of transmission of the virus”, said Minister Phaahla.
By getting vaccinated and following all safety precautions, will not only reduce the spread of the virus, but also take the pressure off our hard working healthcare professionals who have worked tirelessly to keep us safe.
Minister Phaahla adds that the department will continue to closely monitor the situation throughout this period in terms of daily infection cases, hospitalisations, mortality and recovery rates, and make necessary recommendations to the National Coronavirus Command Councils in the best interest of people`s lives and livelihoods.
The department working with provinces will ensure sufficient vaccination sites remain operational, including pop-up sites at some public places like malls, open community sporting based venues and roadblocks.
We also urge public transport operators to enforce compliance with mask wearing at all times, hand sanitising and open windows to allow sufficient ventilation.
For media enquiries, contact:
Mr Doctor Tshwale
Media Liaison Officer for Health Minister
063 657 8487
Mr Foster Mohale
National Health Department