Cabinet approves extension of national state of disaster to 15 April

Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said that Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni briefed the Cabinet on Wednesday on negotiations with pharmaceutical companies for vaccines.

FILE: Acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Cabinet has approved the extension of the national state of disaster until 15 April.

It has also urged South Africans to continue to practice safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, said that Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni briefed Cabinet on Wednesday on negotiations with pharmaceutical companies for vaccines.

She said that some of the contracts had terms that were not aligned with the Public Finance Management Act and that Treasury had already granted deviations from the act, in the interests of saving lives.

"The deviations included prepayment provisions to ensure that South Africans have access to the vaccines as soon as possible. Cabinet supported the efforts of National Treasury and the national Department of Health to continue with the negotiations and ensure quick access to vaccines for all."

Ntshavheni said that South Africans must not drop their guard when it came to the coronavirus.

"Cabinet calls on everybody to remain vigilant and continue practising the health protocols of wearing a mask when in public spaces, regularly washing hands with soap and water or using a 70% alcohol-based hand sanitiser, maintaining social distancing of at least 1.5 metres and avoiding large gatherings. The prevention of the possible third wave is all in our hands."

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