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DEVELOPING: Coronavirus COVID-19 in Cape Town. Updates + practical tips
Government reconsidering disaster status; for now, we’re still in lockdown 1
Last update: Friday, 21 January 2022
BREAKING: Government considering end to disaster status
Premier Alan Winde urges government to speed up decision
New vaccine-manufacturing facility opens in Brackenfell
Western Cape vaccinations at 4 634 609
There’s no curfew but restrictions remain on level 1
GOVT CONSIDERS END TO DISASTER STATUS
President Cyril Ramaphosa has said the national coronavirus command council (NCCC) is reconsidering the state of disaster, considering the drop in infections. “There is a good argument to be put forward that now that we are where we are, should we not examine and look at other methods that we can use?” he said, referring to the use of disaster legislation to curb the spread of the virus. He said the government sees the decision as a collective process.
PREMIER URGES LIFTING OF REGULATIONS
On his official Facebook page, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said, “...it’s high time we do away with these job-killing regulations as we are steadily approaching the exit of the fourth wave in the Western Cape”, adding that the virus is reaching an endemic stage.
He said the percentage of positive cases had declined to 28%, down from 40% the previous week, which showed that we’re on track to exit this 4th wave. However, he appealed to all to keep practising the behaviours we have learnt to stop the virus’ spread.
VACCINE MANUFACTURING FACTORY OPENS
Ramaphosa made his above comments at the opening this week of the NantSA vaccine-manufacturing facility in Brackenfell in the Western Cape. The facility is the initiative of billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, South African-born and graduate of Wits medical school.
“Africa should no longer be last in line to access vaccines against pandemics,” said Ramaphosa. The facility will enable the production of next-generation vaccines for various diseases.
SEVERITY OF VIRUS WEAKENED, STUDY SHOWS
A study of almost 17 000 patients by the provincial health intelligence unit shows that prior infection and vaccination have weakened the severity of Covid-19 symptoms during this 4th wave, driven by the Omicron variant.
The study, in which 46 scientists participated, has not yet been peer-reviewed and is in a preprint. The report stated that antibody protection from prior infection was estimated at 70%, and this was particularly strong “in poorer communities where social distancing is challenging”, TimesLive reports.
DON’T WAIT; GO GET YOUR BOOSTER
There’s no need to wait for an sms that states you can go get a booster, you can go get them now, a release from the province’s Department of Health stated. This applies to either the Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer vaccination. All you need to do is pop in at a vaccination site near you.
YOU CAN STAY OUT AT MIDNIGHT, EVERY NIGHT
A special cabinet meeting held on 30 December, 2021, lifted all curfew restrictions, much to the delight of all South African residents. The National Coronavirus Command and President’s Coordinating councils agreed that the fourth wave, driven by the Omicron variant, appears to be decreasing in new cases and is manageable. That said, Level 1 restrictions remain: people must wear masks in public spaces and the vaccination drive will continue.
COVID-19 IN WESTERN CAPE: THE SITUATION NOW
The vaccination drive in the province continues, with 4 634 609 vaccines administered by 20 January, 2022. The Western Cape government has recorded 16 498 active cases of Covid-19 by 20 January, 2022, with a total of 640 203 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 20 January:
602 342 recorded recoveries
21 363 deaths
16 498 active cases
COVID-19 IN SOUTH AFRICA: THE SITUATION NOW
As of 20 January, 2022, the National Department of Health had administered a total of 29 251 262 vaccines. So far, the national total of reported cases stands at 3 572 860. Here are the official figures, according to the Department of Health:
3 394 527 recorded recoveries, with a 95% recovery rate
21 933 255 tests have been conducted
93 846 total deaths
84 487 active cases
RESTRICTIONS REMAIN ON LEVEL 1
Hospitalisation rates in the country remain relatively low and under control, and so level 1 restrictions will remain. However, people should wear masks in public and vaccinate, the government has urged. Numbers for people attending events have been greatly relaxed.
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.
Read more on travel restrictions on our getting around update.
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.
By Hloni Manare
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