A new strategy to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and subsequently accelerate the country’s economic recovery dominated South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address Thursday night.
The address was held virtually, in order to observe the set COVID-19 restrictions. Only 50 people were allowed inside the National Assembly to hear Mr. Ramaphosa’s speech in person.
The president articulated on his plans to tame the pandemic especially, the new variant of the virus, 501Y.v2. South Africa and many other countries across the continent are dealing with a so-called second wave of infections which could end up being more severe and more deadly than the first wave.
Part of Ramaphosa’s plan includes an aggressive vaccination program, targeted at health and other frontline workers. South Africa is using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which has been shown to be effective against the 501Y.V2 variant.
South Africa has secured 9 million doses of the vaccine, the first batch, of 80,000 doses, will arrive in the country next week.
Further consignments will arrive over the next four weeks, totaling 500,000 Johnson &Johnson vaccines.
Ramaphosa further said that South Africa had secured 12 million vaccine doses from the global COVAX facility, which will be complemented by other vaccines that are available to South Africa through the AU’s African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team facility as well.
Pfizer has committed 20 million vaccine doses commencing with deliveries at the end of the first quarter.
South Africa has so far recorded 1.48 million cases of coronavirus and 47,382 deaths.