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DEVELOPING: Coronavirus COVID-19 in Cape Town. Updates + ...

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DEVELOPING: Coronavirus COVID-19 in Cape Town. Updates + practical tips

Youth vaccination campaign launches; state of disaster extended + latest Covid-19 stats

Last update: Friday, 18 February, 2022

COVID-19 HIGHLIGHTS

  • BREAKING: Government’s youth vaccination campaign launches in Tshwane

  • Government extends national state of disaster to 15 March, 2022

  • Western Cape Department of Health urges youth to vaccinate

  • Covid distress grant extended for this year

  • Western Cape vaccinations at 4 840 920

 

#KeREADY YOUTH VAX CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES

On Friday, 18 February, 2022 Health Minister Joe Phaahla and other dignitaries launched the government’s campaign to get youth vaccinated around the country. The primarily virtual event was kicked off at the Tshwane TVET College and took a conversational format between public leaders, youth and influencers. The drive is an effort to address vaccine hesitancy among youth. 

 

STATE OF DISASTER EXTENDED TO 15 MARCH, 2022

On Monday, 14 February, Health Minister Joe Phaahla said government cannot end the state of disaster without having measures in place to end future waves of Covid-19. He cautioned that the pandemic is far from over, although President Ramaphosa signalled in his SONA speech that the end to the state of disaster is in sight. Calls have been growing across the nation to bring the status to an end. To read more about the reasons for the extension, read here.

 

YOUTH, PLEASE VACCINATE: WC HEALTH 

Experts at the Western Cape Department of Health also reinforce the message, saying the vaccine can protect everyone, including the youth, reducing the chances of  Covid-19 infection and complications, as well as the risk of transmission to other people who are more vulnerable to the disease. They have appealed to youth to also get the vaccine, listing the individual benefits as avoiding getting “long Covid-19 (fatigue, brain fog, chronic lung disease, chronic loss of smell or taste”. For more information, see here. To find out where to get vaccinated, follow this link.

  

DISTRESS GRANT EXTENDED FOR ANOTHER YEAR

Although the national state of disaster may soon be drawn to a close, the social relief grant of R350 per month has been extended for the year until the end of March, 2023. This means one of the greatest concerns – relief for many who have been hit hard by the pandemic – is now addressed.

    

SURGE IN BUSINESS OPTIMISM FOR 2022

As Omicron cases have receded business in the private sector has shown an increase in activity nationally, boosting demand and stabilising new business, says a report on TimesLive. It references IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index survey, which shows a slight increase of 2.5. The decline of Omicron cases has led to a surge in business optimism “to the highest in just over seven years, amid greater promise that economic conditions will be less affected by the pandemic in 2022”, the article stated.

 

THESE ARE THE CURRENT REGULATIONS

Earlier this week, Cabinet announced adjustments to the current Level 1 lockdown regulations, following National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) meetings. Regulations nationally are now as follows:

  • Those who test positive with no symptoms do not have to isolate. 

  • The period of isolation for those who test positive, with symptoms, has been reduced from 10 to 7 days.

  • Contacts do not have to isolate unless they develop symptoms.

  • There is no longer a curfew.

  • Masks are still obligatory.

However, in a briefing on Friday, 4 April, Minister of Health Joe Phaahla reiterated that vaccinations are still seen as the best defence.  

 

MASKS TO STAY; NO NEWS ON MANDATES YET

Government has remained cautious about ending the national state of disaster. Following the UK’s decision to drop masks, Minister Phaahla said the government has no plans as yet to follow suit. However, proposals had been tabled to relax restrictions around arts and culture events, which would include allowing crowds to attend sports events, he said. He added that government is still formalising its position on mandatory vaccines, a BusinessTech article stated

   

COVID-19 IN WESTERN CAPE: THE SITUATION NOW

The vaccination drive in the province continues, with 4 849 920 vaccines administered by 17 February, 2022. The Western Cape government has recorded 6 526 active cases of Covid-19 by Thursday, 17 February, 2022, with a total of 654 186 confirmed cases, according to the Western Cape government’s dashboard. 

Below are the Western Cape stats, according to the WC government’s dashboard as of 17 February, 2022: 

  • 625 992 recorded recoveries 

  • 21 668 deaths

  • 6 526 active cases

 

COVID-19 IN SOUTH AFRICA: THE SITUATION NOW

As of 17 February, 2022, the National Department of Health had administered a total of 30 858 125 vaccines. So far, the national total of reported cases stands at 3 634 811. Here are the official figures, according to the Department of Health:

  • 3 494 874 recorded recoveries, with a 95,8% recovery rate

  • 22 796 653 tests have been conducted

  • 97 955 total deaths

  • 38 873 active cases

Level 1 restrictions remain. However, people should wear masks in public and vaccinate, the government has urged. A thousand people are allowed to gather indoors, provided the social-distancing protocols are adhered to, and no more than 2 000 are allowed in outdoor gatherings. For smaller venues, no more than 50% of the venue’s capacity may be filled.

  

WATCH: DOCTORS DEBUNK 13 VACCINE MYTHS

Make an informed choice about getting the Covid-19 vaccine by watching Science Insider’s Debunked series, where scientists Dr Nipunie Rajapakse and Dr Maria Elena Bottazzi debunk 13 myths about the Covid-19 vaccine. Some of these include the dependence of herd immunity to avoid vaccination, receiving vaccines that carry diseases and more. 

 

WATCH: BOOSTER SHOTS, EXPLAINED 

Covid-19 booster shots have arrived in South Africa, which is facing the fourth wave, driven by the new varian omicron. Booster vaccines will be offered to healthcare workers first, as they received their first and only Johnson & Johnson vaccine over 8 months ago. Watch as Bhekisisa Health explains what booster shots are all about and why they may be necessary. 

 

THESE ARE THE BASICS TO STAYING SAFE

Here’s how we can stay safe according to the official coronavirus website:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. It’s still one of the most effective ways to keep the virus at bay.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Cover your mouth or nose when you cough or sneeze with a flexed elbow or tissue, then throw the tissue in the bin.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

      

HOW SOUTH AFRICA EASES IN AND OUT OF LOCKDOWN

There is a risk-adjusted lockdown strategy in place. There are 5 levels, which will work similarly to loadshedding. These levels are implemented based on the number of new infections and healthcare-system readiness. We are currently under level 2 lockdown. 

For the latest regulation changes that should come with a new level, read our lockdown news update.

 

 

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