Ramaphosa lauds public's resilience, bravery of frontline workers amid pandemic

Last week, Health Minister Joe Phaahla announced the end of COVID-19 regulations relating to mask wearing -public gatherings and travellers entering the country, but experts have warned that persons living with underlying health conditions must still apply caution as the virus is still in circulation.

FILE: In his weekly newsletter on Monday, Ramaphosa said his faith in the ability of South Africans to come together in a time of crisis has been re-affirmed. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged South Africans to remain cautious and vigilant following the recent lifting of the last of the COVID-19 -restrictions, two years after the measures were put in place to curb the spread of the virus.

Last week, Health Minister Joe Phaahla announced the end of COVID-19 regulations relating to mask wearing, public gatherings and travellers entering the country, but experts have warned that persons living with underlying health conditions must still apply caution as the virus is still in circulation.

In his weekly newsletter on Monday, Ramaphosa said his faith in the ability of South Africans to come together in a time of crisis has been re-affirmed.

"For the first time in over two years, the country does not have any COVID restrictions in place. In my first televised address to the nation on 15 March 2020, I said that we would overcome the deadly pandemic in our midst. I said that we would act decisively and that we would act together."

Ramaphosa has lauded the resilience of South Africans and the bravery of frontline workers.

The president said the country was emerging from a great national trauma that caused untold damage and heartache, adding that where many thought it would crumble, the country’s healthcare system survived due to the dedication of frontline workers.

"It served our nation well by providing care, saving lives and vaccinating millions. We owe an eternal debt to the courage and dedication of the health workers and many other people on the frontlines of the pandemic."

But with the lifting of the last of the COVID regulations, the president's warned it is now up to each individual to prevent the resurgence of the virus.

"The heroism of every South African has enabled us to weather the storm. And it is the same resilience and fortitude that will enable us to forge ahead with the difficult task of reconstruction and recovery."

In its latest update, the Department of Health reports that there’s been 3,992,449 known positive cases and 101,731 related deaths since the start of the pandemic just over two years ago.