- The National Institute for Communicable Diseases has said that there are no cases of India's deadly Covid-19 variant in Mzansi
- Dr Zweli Mkhize also assured the country that the B.1.617 variant has not been detected in the country
- This is after he Netcare group of hospitals confirmed that a patient who had “recently” travelled to India had tested positive for the coronavirus
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has assured Mzansi that there are no cases of India's Covid-19 variant in the country.
The NICD said the B.1.617 variant has not been detected in Mzansi and shared that any suspected cases will be investigated.
In a statement released on Monday, 3 May the NICD's Prof Adrian Puren said:
"The institution has tremendous empathy for the dire situation that is unfolding in India and would like to reassure the South African public that we are keeping a close eye on developments."
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize also denied that there are any cases of the variant in Mzansi. According to TimesLIVE, Mkhize said the government is on "high alert" for the Covid-19 variant circulating in India.
In a statement released by Mkhize's department on Monday, the minister said that there were no cases of the B.1.617 variant in SA after the Netcare group of hospitals confirmed that a patient who had “recently” travelled to India had tested positive for the coronavirus and was being treated in a KwaZulu-Natal hospital. The variant the patient had tested positive for was not yet established.
Social media users shared mixed thoughts about the state of readiness to deal with more Covid-19 variants in Mzansi. Most tweeps took to Mkhize's comment section to urge government to shut down the country's borders. Check out some of their comments below:
"How did the person return to SA from India if there are no flights? Which means you are not monitoring the connecting flights?, any person that traveled to India in the last 20 days should be restricted from entering SA."
HausOfFerosh also asked:
"Why do you need to wait on a committee to advise you to ban flights frrm a Covid hotspot with a new variant, were their citizens are being cremated in the streets. @CyrilRamaphosa do we really have a president that is so indecisive in a crisis? No common sense."
"3rd wave will destroy us while vaccines remain in the warehouse."
"Start by banning anyone who has been in India over the past 20 days... Just because there's no 'direct' fights doesn't mean people aren't entering. Act quickly and decisively!!"
"We are begging the government to please close the borders and ban all travelling from India."
eNCA reports that India's total Covid caseload neared 20 million on Monday as oxygen shortages in hospitals exacerbated a devastating second wave. The news outlet said India's underfunded health care system is under severe strain, with fatal shortages of beds, drugs and oxygen leaving some to die awaiting treatment in long queues outside hospitals.
In related news, Briefly News reported that the first batch of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine arrived in South Africa on Sunday evening, 2 May.
Reports say that around 325 000 doses of the vaccine landed at OR Tambo International Airport. Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize stated that the country will receive around 4.5 million doses by the end of next month.
South Africa will start the distribution process of the vaccination as soon as it gets the green light from the National Control Laboratory. The National Control Laboratory will be assessing the vaccine for quality assurance.
South Africans have taken to social media to discuss the vaccine and what the arrival of the treatment means for the country.
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