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South Africa mulling COVID-19 vaccine mandate for some places, activities

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WATCH ABOVE: Multiple countries detect heavily mutated COVID-19 Omicron variant – Nov 27, 2021

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday that authorities were considering imposing compulsory COVID-19 shots for people in certain places and activities, as a rise of infections linked to a new variant was approaching a fourth wave.

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South African president says COVID-19 positivity rate has risen from 2% to 9% in less than a week – Nov 28, 2021

But he said authorities would not be considering economic lockdown restrictions for the time being, and he slammed rich Western countries for their knee-jerk imposition of travel bans after hearing about the new variant.

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“If cases continue to climb, we can expect to enter a fourth wave of infections within the next few weeks, if not sooner,” Ramaphosa warned, adding that South Africa was in the process of considering “introducing measures that make vaccination a condition for access to workplaces, public events, public transport and public establishments.”

Scientists have so far only detected the new Omicron variant in relatively small numbers, mainly in South Africa but also in Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel. But they are concerned by its high number of mutations which raised concerns that it could be more vaccine-resistant and transmissible.

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South African officials are furious about a British ban on flights from southern African countries, on which several other countries followed suit. Many South Africans feel they are being punished for their transparency and hard work in keeping tabs on the way the virus is mutating.

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“This is a clear and completely unjustified departure from the commitment that many of these countries made at the meeting of G20 countries in Rome last month,” Ramaphosa said.

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COVID-19: South African president “deeply disappointed” by travel restrictions due to Omicron variant – Nov 28, 2021

“The prohibition of travel is not informed by science, nor will it be effective in preventing the spread of this variant. The only thing (it) … will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to … the pandemic.”

— Reporting by Promit Mukherjee 

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