As part of government response towards mitigating the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that the government has acquired additional millions of COVID-19 vaccines which is expected to arrive the country in the first half of the year.
This is in addition to the 1.5 million doses of the vaccine already acquired from AstraZeneca Plc and the Serum Institute of India Ltd.; with first shipments expected to arrive this month.
President Ramaphosa of South Africa made this known during a televised state broadcast to brief citizens of the country on government’s effort in curtailing the virus in the country.
The president during the broadcast also announced that the country will remain on virus alert level 3 with the government extending ban on alcohol sales, public gatherings other than funerals and restrictions on cross-border travel until February 15.
According to the South African president: “The pandemic in our country is now at its most devastating state, as we must unite to overcome the grave and persisting crisis our country faces.”
The South African economy just like many economy of the Africa has suffered devastating effect from the pandemic since the country recorded its first case of the virus on march 5th 2020. The economy is estimated by the government to have contracted the most in nine decades last year.
South Africa, which has detected a second and more infectious strain of the virus known as 501.V2, has reported more than 119,000 new infections since Jan. 1, bringing the cumulative total to more than 1.23 million; the highest in the continent.
Other speech highlights include:
- Beaches, dams, lakes and swimming pools will remain closed in all virus hotspots.
- The six busiest border posts — Beitbridge, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge, Oshoek, Ficksburg and Kopfontein — are among those that will be closed to most travelers.
- Borders will remain open for the transportation of fuel and cargo, and South African nationals and permanent residents will be allowed to return home.
- The government is still deliberating on when schools should reopen.
- Vaccines will be distributed through hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices, pharmacies and workplaces.