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Covid-19: Govt monitoring rising cases in Western Cape and KZN, could adjust restrictions – Ramaphosa

  • The government is monitoring the increase in daily Covid-19 cases in KZN and the Western Cape.
  • Cyril Ramaphosa says he wants the country to be a vaccine manufacturing hub. 
  • The country moved to Level 3 lockdown this week.

The rising number of Covid-19 cases in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape is being monitored and the government may make changes to lockdown restrictions.

During his visit to vaccination sites in Tembisa and Midrand on Thursday, Ramaphosa said the rise in numbers in the two provinces was concerning. 

On Wednesday, KwaZulu-Natal recorded 1 975 new Covid-19 cases and the Western Cape 4 667.  

On Sunday, Ramaphosa moved the country to Alert Level 3, easing restrictions by, among others, allowing the sale of alcohol and the reopening of gyms and churches.  

“We are dealing with a very fluid pandemic. We are seeing a rise in infections [in some provinces]. Every two weeks we will evaluate the situation and communicate to the country – and, if indeed we are seeing a rise, we have to adjust. We are dealing with an evolving type of situation.”

Manufacturing hub 

The president said the most important thing now is for people to show up at vaccination sites to ensure the country reaches population immunity. 

“Vaccine shortage will no longer be a problem. There is no longer a drought of vaccines. We have a good supply.”

READ | To ensure vaccine equity, ‘donations are not sustainable’ – activist

“With seven million people vaccinated, we should be heading towards population immunity soon.”  

Ramaphosa said he wanted the country to be a “manufacturing hub” for Covid-19 vaccines.

Currently, the Aspen plant in Gqeberha fills and finishes Johnson and & Johnson vaccines produced in other parts of the world. 

The good and better news is that we have now positioned ourselves, as a country and a continent, to be the hub for manufacturing vaccines and move away from ‘fill and finish’. We will, in time, be able to have the drugs substance manufactured here and it will be filled and finished here and in other centres on the continent as well.

He said the continent needed to be ready to address future pandemics.

“Covid-19 has enabled innovative and creative ways of addressing future pandemics a lot more effectively and efficiently. As far as vaccine manufacturing and doing it effectively, it has been a wake-up call. The continent has woken up and we are in charge of our own health destiny. It’s a wonderfully involved story.”

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