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Omicron variant: Department of Health says it cannot rule out an inter-provincial travel ban

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla led a question and answer session on the COVID-19 developments in South Africa late on Friday afternoon, 26 November. He said the rise in cases following the emergence of the Omicron variant could lead to a inter-provincial travel ban.

PHAAHLA SAYS BAN IS POSSIBLE

According to SABC News, the health department said the Omicron variant is spreading across the country very quickly and one of the measures to curb the spread could be a restriction of movement between provinces.

“Our experts here have indicated that movement is the one which moves with the virus. There might be some proposal on restricting the movement of inter-provincial travel,” said Phaahla.

The minister added that he is not in a position to rule out any restrictions on travelling during this festive period.

“I am not in a position to say if infections continue to rise we look at measures to contain that there will never be any restrictions on travelling. I am not in a position to guarantee that. And it’s going to depend on our risk-adjusted approach on dealing with these matters,” said Phaahla.

President Cyril Ramaphosa was initially meant to meet with the National Coronavirus Command Council on Sunday but this has since been moved up to Saturday, 27 November – prompting fears that a change in lockdown restrictions is imminent.

South Africa recorded 2828 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and 12 more deaths. Gauteng, where the variant of concern was first detected, continued to be the most affected province with 2172 cases.

The country has 19 938 active cases as of Friday.

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