Since the South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccination programme began ten days ago, more than 67,000 health workers have been inoculated.
All nine provinces have also established vaccination sites. This week, government is aiming to increase the number of sites from 17 to 49. Most of these will be located at public hospitals while 17 will be setup in private facilities.
“The start of our vaccination campaign has gone extremely well,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa. “It has shown what we can achieve when we work together as government, the scientific community and the private sector.”
The president also announced that cabinet has eased lockdown restrictions with the second wave of Covid-19 infections slowing across South Africa.
More vaccines expected in phase two
The second phase of the vaccination roll-out will begin in late April or early May. The elderly, essential workers, persons living or working in institutional settings and those with co-morbidities will be vaccinated during this phase.
“We have recently signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson to secure 11 million doses. Of these doses, 2.8 million doses will be delivered in the second quarter and the rest spread throughout the year,” said Ramaphosa.
South Africa has also secured 20 million doses from Pfizer, which will be delivered from the second quarter.
“Additionally, we have secured 12 million vaccine doses from the COVAX facility and are in the process of finalising our dose allocation from the African Union,” said the president. “We are in constant contact with various other vaccine manufacturers to ensure that we have the necessary quantities of vaccines when we need them.”
Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, close to 50,000 people have died of Covid-19. Some health experts, however, say the number of deaths is likely higher.
Lockdown eased, but masks remain mandatory
Covid-19 lockdown rules have also eased as of 1 March, with the country’’s curfew shifted back by an hour to midnight, ending at 4 am.
Gatherings are now permitted, including religious, social, political and cultural. However, these will be restricted to 100 people indoors or 250 people outdoors.
Where venues are too small to accommodate the larger numbers, no more than 50 per cent of the capacity of the venue may be used. Night vigils or other gatherings before or after funerals are still banned, while nightclubs remain shut.
Alcohol sales are back to normal, although restricted during the hours of curfew. Masks remain mandatory in public and those failing to wear a mask will be arrested and fined.—Health-e News with SAnews.gov.za