×

We've got news for you.

Register on TimesLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

Your Covid-19 questions answered

Will we see a Covid-like lockdown for monkeypox?

27 May 2022 - 07:00
The arms and torso of a patient with skin lesions due to monkeypox during an outbreak of the virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1996 and 1997.
The arms and torso of a patient with skin lesions due to monkeypox during an outbreak of the virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1996 and 1997.
Image: CDC/Brian W.J. Mahy/Handout via REUTERS

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has reassured SA it is unlikely government will implement Covid-like measures to prevent monkeypox infections.

The reassurance comes amid rising concern that lockdown measures seen during the coronavirus pandemic could make a return. 

Briefing the media this week, the institute said monkeypox was unlikely to become a pandemic and SA is ready to deal with a virus.

“It is not a virus that’s highly transmissible. It is  not like Covid-19 at all and we can get ahead of the outbreak by contact tracing, monitoring and isolation of cases,” said NICD representative Jacqueline Weyer.

“I think we’re all acutely aware of the economic and social impact of such a decision and it is always like a cost-benefit discussion one needs to have. Even if we were to have one or two cases of monkeypox, our system would deal with that.”

Is there a need for mass vaccination against monkeypox?

NICD executive director Adrian Puren said there were no suspected nor confirmed cases of monkeypox in SA to date. 

He said there is no need for mass vaccination campaigns globally against monkeypox, and this should be prioritised for other infections that are more deadly.

“We need an agenda for what vaccines should be prioritised and how we approach that because there is a finite amount of financing that can go into vaccines,” he said.

“I understand the pressure but in this particular context we just need to be cautious.”

Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month


subscribe

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.