Relaxation of restrictions not a licence to convene super-spreader events

Soon after president Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday night, the hashtag “vaccine passport” started trending across social media platforms.
Soon after president Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday night, the hashtag “vaccine passport” started trending across social media platforms.
Image: JAIRUS MMUTLE

Soon after president Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday night, the hashtag “vaccine passport” started trending across social media platforms. The president set the cat among the pigeons when he revealed that the health department is considering the implementing vaccine passports that need to be shown when entering certain events and venues.

More than 14.6 million doses of vaccine have been administered across the country, but there still remains a large number of South Africans who are opposed to the jab. The reasons vary from genuine fear and mistrust of pharmaceutical companies to reliance on pseudoscience and conspiracy theories, to name a few.

While the government moves ahead with plans to inoculate as many South Africans as soon as possible to achieve herd immunity, a call that has been taken up by millions, we have to be cognisant of other views. With the announcement of vaccine passports, both those for and against the jab have accused the state of infringing on their basic rights. Some even went as far as comparing it to the dompas black people were forced to carry under apartheid laws.

Government is yet to explain exactly how — or if — it intends implementing a vaccine passport system but there needs to be careful consideration so as not to impinge on people’s rights or their ability to access goods and services.

On Sunday night, Ramaphosa also announced the move from lockdown level 3 to level 2, which would bring about some measure of relief. The move means that larger gatherings are now permitted — 250 indoors (or 50% capacity for smaller venues) and 500 outdoors.

Alcohol sales have now been extended to Fridays and curfew pushed back to between 11pm and 4am, which means restaurants and bars now have an additional hour to trade.

While the hospitality industry breathed a collective sigh of relief, the relaxed restrictions have also been welcomed by political parties. Larger gatherings would means more freedom when campaigning for the upcoming municipal elections. However, the new rules are not a licence to convene super-spreader events which could potentially scupper the chances of holding an election at the eleventh hour.

We are still in the throes of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and failure to observe health and safety protocols could potentially spell disaster and lead to a further clampdown. Today marks day 538 of the Covid-19 enforced lockdown, which has seen our general way of life being turned on its head. The number of infections and deaths may be dropping but we are not out of the woods just yet.

The number of infections and deaths may be dropping but we are not out of the woods just yet

Soon after president Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday night, the hashtag “vaccine passport” started trending across social media platforms. The president set the cat among the pigeons when he revealed that the health department is considering the implementing vaccine passports that need to be shown when entering certain events and venues.

More than 14.6 million doses of vaccine have been administered across the country, but there still remains a large number of South Africans who are opposed to the jab. The reasons vary from genuine fear and mistrust of pharmaceutical companies to reliance on pseudoscience and conspiracy theories, to name a few.

While the government moves ahead with plans to inoculate as many South Africans as soon as possible to achieve herd immunity, a call that has been taken up by millions, we have to be cognisant of other views. With the announcement of vaccine passports, both those for and against the jab have accused the state of infringing on their basic rights. Some even went as far as comparing it to the dompas black people were forced to carry under apartheid laws.

Government is yet to explain exactly how — or if — it intends implementing a vaccine passport system but there needs to be careful consideration so as not to impinge on people’s rights or their ability to access goods and services.

On Sunday night, Ramaphosa also announced the move from lockdown level 3 to level 2, which would bring about some measure of relief. The move means that larger gatherings are now permitted — 250 indoors (or 50% capacity for smaller venues) and 500 outdoors.

Alcohol sales have now been extended to Fridays and curfew pushed back to between 11pm and 4am, which means restaurants and bars now have an additional hour to trade.

While the hospitality industry breathed a collective sigh of relief, the relaxed restrictions have also been welcomed by political parties. Larger gatherings would means more freedom when campaigning for the upcoming municipal elections. However, the new rules are not a licence to convene super-spreader events which could potentially scupper the chances of holding an election at the eleventh hour.

We are still in the throes of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and failure to observe health and safety protocols could potentially spell disaster and lead to a further clampdown. Today marks day 538 of the Covid-19 enforced lockdown, which has seen our general way of life being turned on its head. The number of infections and deaths may be dropping but we are not out of the woods just yet.


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