Ramaphosa urges South Africans to minimise spread of Covid-19 amid sharp rise in positive cases

21 June 2021 - 10:52 By aphiwe deklerk
President Cyril Ramaphosa says the climb in new Covid-19 cases has been extraordinarily rapid and steep over the past few weeks. File photo.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says the climb in new Covid-19 cases has been extraordinarily rapid and steep over the past few weeks. File photo.
Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged South Africans to do everything they can to limit the spread of Covid-19 amid a sharp rise in positive cases.

In his weekly newsletter Ramaphosa said the country was experiencing the third wave of infections, with Gauteng the worst hit.

We may be tired of this persistent enemy, but it is not yet tired of us. The threat to health and lives is evident as people become ill and some die. We must do what we can as individuals, as families and communities, as unions and employers, and as government, to limit the toll,” said Ramaphosa. 

When the virus surges to this extent, the economy also faces challenges. Workers have to isolate or go into quarantine, people stop going out for recreation and shopping, tourism comes to a standstill, and workplaces have to spend more money to prevent infections.”

He said it was incorrect to speak about a trade-off between lives and livelihoods during this time. Rather, we need to invest our time, effort and resources to control the pandemic to see a pay-off in terms of falling case numbers, reduced deaths and economic recovery.

“The climb in new cases has been extraordinarily rapid and steep over the past few weeks. The number of daily new cases jumped from below 800 in early April to more than 13,000 in the past week. In other words, it increased more than 15-fold from the last low point.

“By now we all know what we have to do to bring the rate of infection down, and we must act with great discipline to protect our people and our livelihoods,” said Ramaphosa. 

He warned South Africans to avoid social gatherings of all kinds.

“Our people know we can control contagions, but it requires all of us to act together over time. It is not a task only for the vulnerable or the healthcare system. It requires every South African to do their part, to accept we cannot go back to pre-pandemic days but must rather build a new normal that is safe for us all.

He said the country would commence with the vaccination of 500,000 teachers this week.

We cannot go back to pre-pandemic days but must rather build a new normal that is safe for us all.
President Cyril Ramaphosa

All of us need to work to ensure a fast and smooth rollout of the vaccine campaign. If our family members, friends, neighbours or employees need help, we should support them to register and get to vaccine sites. 

We will only be able to effectively contain this disease when we succeed in rolling out vaccinations on a large scale.

“Our country has experienced many hardships in the past. However, we overcame them by understanding the challenges we faced, developing appropriate strategies and implementing them together. As we have done before, we need to work as one to prevent infections and reduce the effects of this virus on us.” 

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