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Johannesburg mayor to meet experts over new Covid-19 variant

Newly elected Johannesburg mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse is concerned over the new Covid-19 variant.
Newly elected Johannesburg mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse is concerned over the new Covid-19 variant.
Image: Alaister Russell

Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse has expressed her concern about the new Covid-19 variant reported this week.

Gauteng has experienced a sharp rise in cases believed to be driven by the newly identified B.1.1.529 Covid-19 variant which was given the name Omicron by the World Health Organisation on Friday.

Phalatse will be meeting with technical experts to understand the variant to help guide the city’s response.

In a statement on Saturday the city said it is expected the fourth wave of Covid-19 to peak about mid-December, but was watching data modelling available in the coming weeks.

“The city is continuing with mass vaccination of residents and aims to reach more people as the vaccination rollout remains critical to curbing the affect of the fourth wave.

“The vaccination programme is a priority in the fight to minimise the spread of Covid-19 infection, as it has been proven that vaccinations decrease the risk of death for those who are immunised,” the statement read. 

Phalatse emphasised the city’s commitment to responding to the resurgence and to doing all in its power to help reduce transmission, while also seeking interventions that have minimal effect on the livelihoods of residents.

“In the meantime the city urges the community to continue the non-pharmaceutical interventions of mask wearing in public, sanitising hands and practising social distancing at all times.”

According to the presidency, the coronavirus command council will “assess developments in the Covid-19 pandemic, including scientific updates about the newly detected coronavirus variant”.

“The outcomes of this meeting will give direction as to whether further consultation is required at the level of the president’s co-ordinating council (PCC).

“Government urges all South Africans to vaccinate and to remain disciplined in applying the known safety measures, to ensure a safe and joyful festive season with families and friends,” the presidency statement read on Saturday.



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