CABINET HAS extended the national state of disaster to 15 October, Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele announced at a post-Cabinet briefing on Thursday.
This means that the current lockdown regulations remain in place. A presidential address on regulation changes does not seem imminent.
He said:” Lockdown, whether it is going to be eased or not…depends a lot on the rate of infection. And secondly, it also depends on the degree to which our facilities are coping, and thirdly, of course, mainly, it depends on us sticking to non-pharmaceutical protocol measures.”
Gungubele explained that an address from President Cyril Ramaphosa depends on what comes out of a National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) meeting. New announcements determine whether such an address takes place. At the moment, there is nothing new to announce.
The minister said the Department of Health told Cabinet about the progress of the Covid-19 vaccination rollout programme, which included epidemiology and surveillance.
“Cabinet noted the decline in new infections, as well as hospital admissions and reported death cases.”
“Cabinet, however, noted the increase in infection reproduction rates. The Department of Health assured Cabinet that more work is being done to understand and contain the reported school cluster outbreaks, particularly in the Eastern Cape.”
An appeal has been made to parents, pupils and school governing bodies to ensure strict adherence to protocols, such as the wearing of masks, ventilation, social distancing and hand washing.
“Strict adherence to the non-pharmaceutical health protocols remains the most effective
He said:” Cabinet encourages unvaccinated people in our country, especially adults and those at high risk of developing severe illness, to vaccinate as quickly as possible. Vaccines hold good benefits for our health as they prevent serious illness, hospitalisation and death. Let us fight the virus together by spreading verified information about vaccines provided by the Department of Health and World Health Organisation”.
In response to a question about vaccine passports, Gungubele said Ramaphosa instructed Cabinet to look at all possibilities to allow more activities to occur.
Vaccine passports are one of the “innovative ideas attended to”.
Image (Minister in the Office of Presidency Mondli Ngungubele).