South African president says country to vaccinate all citizens

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South Africa plans to vaccinate all its citizens against COVID-19, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday.

The country is Africa’s hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, having reported a total of 1,536,801 infections with 52,082 deaths.

The tallies represent 36.95 percent of the continent’s caseload and 47.59 percent of its fatalities.

The country rolled out its COVID-19 vaccinations last month in efforts to contain further spread of the virus.

Currently, the inoculation drive has targeted healthcare workers, essential service providers, the elderly and those other high-risk groups.

In his speech on Sunday, Ramaphosa said: “the next phase of our response to the pandemic, we are working to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccine is available to every person in our country.”

The president acknowledged that the pandemic had taken a toll on livelihoods and the country’s economy, but that progress had been made in efforts to contain it.

Government-imposed containment measures still remain in place, including a ban on large public gatherings and mandatory wearing of face coverings.

Ramaphosa called for unity in the fight against the disease, noting that the pandemic is a threat to every citizen.

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