No word on the next family meeting as Cabinet extends national state of disaster

Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele could not confirm whether President Cyril Ramaphosa would be addressing the nation soon.

FILE: New Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele and President Cyril Ramaphosa at the swearing-in ceremony at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 6 August 2021. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Cabinet has approved a further extension of the national state of disaster up until 15 January next year, as the country battles a fresh wave of COVID fuelled by the Omicron variant.

Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele could not confirm whether President Cyril Ramaphosa would be addressing the nation soon.

He also could not guarantee there would be no new hard lockdown, but on Thursday said the government was opposed to this and was seeking to strike a balance between saving lives and livelihoods.

Noting the rapid increase in infections, Cabinet is urging people to get vaccinated, saying this would prevent serious illness, hospitalisation and death from COVID-19, and would also offer protection against future variants.

“Our COVID-19 infections recorded in the last 24 hours stands at 19,842, which translates into a 26.8% positivity rate. We have also lost 36 people to COVID-19 related complications in the last 24 hours.”

Gungubele said a total of 26,781,642 vaccine doses had been administered to date; Cabinet has urged people aged 12 and older to get their jabs and to observe COVID protocols and avoid super-spreader events like parties, as statistics showed that the majority of those admitted to hospital were not vaccinated.

The minister said the government had to monitor infections while also keeping the country's ailing economy afloat.

“The attitude that government is adopting is, find the best possible way of navigating whilst ensuring that initiative for livelihoods are intensified and ensuring the economy moves.”