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Risky indoor events should only be allowed to be attended by vaccinated people, says Abdool Karim

30 November 2021 - 09:33
Prof Salim Abdool Karim has suggested that those who are not vaccinated should not be allowed at indoor settings amid the Omicron variant.
Prof Salim Abdool Karim has suggested that those who are not vaccinated should not be allowed at indoor settings amid the Omicron variant.
Image: Jackie Clausen

Prof Salim Abdool Karim, former head of the ministerial advisory committee on Covid-19, has proposed that those who are not vaccinated should not be allowed at indoor settings amid the Omicron variant.

Speaking at a government press briefing on Monday, Abdool Karim raised concerns about the increase in Covid-19 cases, saying indoor events should only be allowed to be attended by vaccinated people.

He said the restriction was based on the fact that vaccinated people are less likely than unvaccinated people to have severe Covid-19.

“Even though we are likely to see reinfections and breakthrough infections, vaccinated people are less likely to have severe Covid-19. So one of the things is to restrict risky situations, particularly indoors, to vaccinated people only,” said Abdool Karim.

By the end of the week, the country could see over 10,000 cases if certain measures are not put in place quickly, he warned.

He said he was amazed at how fast the numbers were going up given that the country had low transmission until barely a week ago.

“We expected and prepared for a new variant as far back as September. However, we did not know when it would come,” he said.

On Sunday, during his address to the nation, President Cyril Ramaphosa said he was not impressed with the low vaccination rates and the country was looking at making vaccines mandatory.

“Government has set up a task team that will undertake broad consultations on making vaccination mandatory for specific activities and locations,” he said.

“The task team will report to the interministerial committee on vaccination chaired by the deputy president, which will make recommendations to cabinet on a fair and sustainable approach to vaccine mandates.”

Ramaphosa said the introduction of such measures was a difficult and complex issue, but was necessary to fight the spread of the virus.

“If we do not address this seriously and as a matter of urgency, we will continue to be vulnerable to new variants and will continue to suffer new waves of infection,” he said.


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