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Possible mandatory vaccinations & stocking up on oxygen – how SA is preparing for the 4th wave

President Cyril Ramaphosa updated the country on South Africa's response to Covid-19 on Sunday night. File image
President Cyril Ramaphosa updated the country on South Africa's response to Covid-19 on Sunday night. File image

As concerns about the looming fourth wave of Covid-19 mount, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced several measures to manage the pandemic.

South Africa is considering mandatory vaccinations and is stocking up on oxygen supplies for all beds earmarked for Covid-19 care, he said in a televised address on Sunday.

Government, labour and business were discussing mandatory vaccinations and there was “broad agreement” on introducing such a measure.

As individuals, companies and government, we have a responsibility to ensure that all people in this country can work, travel and socialise safely. We have therefore been undertaking engagements with social partners and other stakeholders on introducing measures that make vaccination a condition for access to workplaces, public events, public transport and public establishments.” 

An increase in hospital admissions was expected as the Omicron variant spread to other provinces from Gauteng.

Ramaphosa said government would implement the national resurgence plan to ensure hospitals had the capacity to accommodate patients. 

“We are focusing on effective clinical governance, contact tracing and screening, effective clinical care, and availability of health personnel. To ensure our facilities are ready, all hospital beds available or required during the third wave are [being] prepared for the fourth wave.” 

The national coronavirus command council agreed not to implement tightened restrictions in response to the spike in infections because vaccination was widely and freely available, unlike in previous lockdowns. 

He called on all eligible South Africans aged 12 and older to get vaccinated. 

Ramaphosa said it was possible that the national state of disaster introduced on March 15 last year could soon be lifted. 

We have started the process of amending our health regulations so that we can review the use of the Disaster Management Act to manage our response to the pandemic, with a view to ultimately lifting the national state of disaster,” he said.


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