Phaahla: At this stage, C.1.2 COVID variant not a threat

The C.1.2 variant was first picked up in the country in May but local health officials, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO), are trying to allay fears about it.

Minister of Health Joe Phaahla. Picture: @HealthZA/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - Health Minister Joe Phaahla has assured South Africans that at this stage the C.1.2 COVID-19 variant was not a threat.

"Our scientists have reported and observed that this new variant and they have assured us that it is not really a threat. They're watching it. It's been picked up in all nine provinces in very small numbers. At this stage, they've said to us that we shouldn't worry a lot," the minister said.

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It was first picked up in the country in May but local health officials, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO), are trying to allay fears about it.

The Delta variant remains a problem, driving most infections here and abroad.

Phaala has again stressed the importance of speeding up the vaccination roll-out.

"From the experience that we've had since last year, it's almost a given that there will be another wave by the end of the year or whenever. So that means we have to speed up our vaccination and encourage more people to come forward and be vaccinated because that will save us in terms of deaths, in terms of serious illness, people ending up in ICU."

Minister Phaahla also assured South Africans that government had adequate capacity to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to all those who were eligible for a shot.

At a briefing on Friday morning, he emphasised that the inoculation drive must be constantly stepped up.

Phaahla said that between 300,000 and 400,000 people could be vaccinated every day in the country.

He said that so far, the highest number reached was 290,000 in a day.

"We are ready. All that we need is your arms to come through so that we inject you."

The minister said that the number of South Africans who've received at least one dose was approaching 10 million.

Just over 6.3 million people have been fully vaccinated.

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