Departments keep an eye on Omicron data as Covid numbers rise
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Cape Town - The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has confirmed the Covid-19 cases has risen to 4 373, with 21 deaths in South Africa as of last night.
The provincial Health Department is keeping a close watch on data and information on the new variant, Omicron, and the effects of the travel ban South Africa is facing.
On Monday, epidemiologists confirmed that 11 countries had reported cases of the Omicron variant while at least 15 countries had implemented travel bans.
Last night, the NICD confirmed that Covid-19 numbers had risen to 4 373.
“Today (November 30) the institute reports 4,373 new Covid-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2,968,052. This increase represents a 10.2% positivity rate.
“As per the National Department of Health, a further 21 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 89,843 to date. 19,477,054 tests have been conducted in both public and private sectors.”
The Western Cape Government said it was monitoring the situation, especially the effects on the economy and tourism.
Premier Alan Winde said there were indications that the tourism industry had been hit.
“We are lobbying to have the travel bans removed. The World Health Organization has been clear that this is not the correct response by the international community. The Quarterly Labour Force Survey data released yesterday demonstrates clearly just how badly we need the Tourism and Hospitality sector to create jobs over this peak season.
“I engaged with consul generals from our partner countries in Africa last night, during which we agreed that the measures against travelling to our region be lifted and that research be conducted to guide our response to the pandemic. Today, I will further be engaging with the SA Chamber of Commerce UK, where I will again state the devastating impact of these bans and the need to reopen our borders to one another.”
MEC for Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier said the tourism industry had expected to return to normal and gain momentum after the 19-month impact of the pandemic.
“During what has been a very distressing time for those looking to return to their homes abroad, we have been in regular contact with consul generals who have also been present at the airport – they have been a huge support bringing calm to the situation and I thank them for their support.”
Maynier has held daily co-ordinating meetings with relevant stakeholders on their response and they have also worked closely with consuls general to support stranded passengers.
They have also convened a meeting with the tourism and hospitality sector on the province’s response, which was attended by 145 participants.
This included a briefing on the latest flight schedules and developments regarding the virus and engaging with the Cape Town Port to assist with any bottlenecks.
The department said that as of 2pm on November 30 , the survey on tourism had received 635 responses, predominantly from people in the Garden Route, Cape Town and Cape Winelands.
The results of the survey:
* Seventy-seven percent of respondents have had cancellations from clients for December bookings. Forty-one percent said that 50% or more of their December bookings were cancelled.
* Fifty-nine percent of respondents have had cancellations from clients for January bookings. Twenty-nine percent said that 50% or more of their January bookings were cancelled.
*Thirty-one percent of respondents have had cancellations from clients for their February bookings. Thirteen percent said 50% or more of their February bookings were cancelled.
* Ninety-percent respondents anticipated that their revenue between December and February would be lower because of international bans.
* Sixty-two percent of respondents said they would lose 50% or more of their revenue over the same period.
MEC for health Dr Nomafrench Mbombo has again urged people to vaccinate.
“Our best defence against getting seriously ill from Covid-19 is being vaccinated.
“There is no evidence to support that the vaccine is ineffective against the variant. So please, I ask that if you are more vulnerable, have comorbidity or are over 50+ that you absolutely do not delay and get vaccinated as soon as possible. It has never been quicker or easier to do so.
The provincial legislature’s ad-hoc committee on Covid-19 is expected to be briefed by the Western Cape Government’s Department of Health, on the latest developments in the vaccine roll-out as well as its readiness to manage the anticipated fourth wave.