National coronavirus command council meets amid declining Covid-19 infection rate
SA's national coronavirus command council is holding what government sources have described as a “regular” meeting.
The meeting comes as the rate of infections has been on a steady decline in the past week.
The government is pulling out all the stops to secure the arrival of the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines, which were expected to land in the country before the end of January to be administered to health workers as part of the government rollout strategy.
Government spokesperson Phumla Williams on Wednesday confirmed the NCCC meeting but could not be drawn into giving any additional information.
The meeting comes as the government remains under pressure from liquor traders and the restaurant industry to lift the ban on the sale of alcohol, but government insiders have insisted that this was unlikely to change any time soon.
The booze industry, including winemakers and SA Breweries, has pleaded with the government to reconsider the alcohol ban that is heavily denting their revenues.
SA Breweries this month announced that it was cancelling R2.5bn in planned capital investments due to the ban on alcohol sales. It further announced in the past week that it was laying off more than 500 temporary staff members who received their last pay cheques on Friday.
Insiders said no major decisions were expected from Wednesday’s meeting but that further consultations with a range of stakeholders were due to be held during the week.
The meetings of the NCCC and related consultative gatherings usually culminate in a public address by President Cyril Ramaphosa which he uses to announced new measures to tackle Covid-19.