President Cyril Ramaphosa has shifted South Africa back down to Level 1 lockdown, meaning that a host of restrictions now eased to allow for greater freedom of movement.
He also gave the public a better idea of when an end to the COVID-19 lockdown nightmare might finally come to an end entirely, saying that the regulations will only disappear once 70% of the public has been vaccinated.
SA moved to Level 1 lockdown
Speaking during his address to the nation on Thursday 30 September, Ramaphosa said that all South Africans are longing for the time to come when they can return to normal life once more, but said that this reality can only be realised once vaccine target are met.
He said that to date, 17 million vaccine doses have been admisnistered, with 8.6 million people now fully vaccinated. This equates to around a fifth of the South African populous, meaning that there’s still a long way to go before government reaches its target of 70%.
“To reach this goal, we need to administer a further 16 million vaccine doses this year, which amounts to around 250 000 vaccines each day until around mid-December,” he said, adding that the current vaccine rollout is “far too slow”.
Vuma Vaccine drive launched
In order to ramp up the vaccine drive – which Ramaphosa described as SA’s “best defence against the pandemic” and the only way to keep the virus at bay and return to normal – government has resolved to launch the Vuma Weekend Vaccination drive to allow more people to get their jab ahead of the December target.
“Vuma vaccination programmes will be a countrywide drive to encourage the public to get vaccinated. We know that getting to a vaccination site during weekdays can be difficult,” he said.
“Those who may not be able to get the vaccine during the week should take this opportunity, where we will be opening vaccination sites across the country. The Department of Health has identified priority sites.”
‘vaccines are our best chance’
Ramaphosa said that the end of the lockdown and suspension of State of Disaster regulations is contingent on meeting the vaccine targets, and urged the public to get their jab and make this a reality by December.
“If we see the rate of infections low and vaccinate significant numbers of people, we will keep this pandemic at bay, and ultimately fore it into decline,” he said. “If the majority of our population is vaccinated, we can declare South Africa to be a safe destination for tourists and encourage people to return to normal.”
“We follow science. Our scientists continue to advise us on all these matters. Vaccination is our best defence.”