South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday called for the “immediate and urgent lifting” of restrictions on travel from South Africa imposed by several countries after the discovery of a new type of SARS-CoV-2, arguing that it lacks “scientific justification”. .
The head of state said he was “deeply disappointed” by the “totally unjustified” closure of the borders and that this measure constituted a form of “discrimination” against his country and neighboring countries affected by the same measures.
He said in a speech to the nation, broadcast by television.
Noting the steady increase in the number of new confirmed cases in recent days, particularly in the regions of Johannesburg and Pretoria, the South African president stressed that the country is heading towards a fourth wave “in the coming weeks, if not sooner”.
“[Mas] Ramaphosa stressed that we have a powerful tool called vaccination.
The country’s full vaccination rate is at most 23.8%, which is much higher than in the rest of Africa, but well below the global average.
To restore the economy as well, the president called on “all those who have not yet been vaccinated to do so without delay” and motivate those around them to do the same, saying that “many people are still expressing doubts.”
He added that it is not only a matter of protecting themselves, but also of “relieving pressure on health systems,” stressing that the government is studying the possibility of introducing “compulsory vaccination for certain activities and in certain places.”
He admitted that “it will be a difficult and complicated procedure.”
Nearly three-quarters of the recently reported COVID-19 cases in South Africa are due to the Omicron variant. However, the numbers are still low, with about 3,000 new positive cases in recent days, which is far below the official figures for many European countries in particular.
The United States of America, Spain, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, Canada, Austria, Israel and Portugal are among the countries that have temporarily suspended travel to African countries or announced that they will impose restrictions after discovering a new type of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
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