Phaahla: Banning of SA travellers by UK, EU ‘unjustified’

Phaahla: Banning of SA travellers by UK, EU ‘unjustified’

Minister of Health Joe Phaahla has labelled the decision by the UK and several other countries to ban South African travellers as unjustified.

Minister of Health Joe Phaahla media briefing 15 October
Facebook: HealthZA

Phaahla was answering media questions on the latest developments around the new Covid-19 variant, B.1.1.529, which first detected in South Africa. 

While not much is known about the variant, scientists are concerned about the number of mutations and its ability to spread. 

Phaahla said South Africa acted in the interest of transparency when it announced the detection of the new variant.

“We feel that banning South Africa is a wrong approach, it is misdirected, and it goes against the norms as advised by the World Health Organisation. We just feel that some of the leaderships of countries are finding scapegoats to deal with what is a worldwide problem.

"We are concerned about rising numbers from low levels to now approaching 3000, but in comparison to some countries that are reacting in this manner, it is countries that have much higher cases,” said Phaahla.

He said they believe current vaccines are effective against the new variant.

“We want to emphasise the fact that the announcement about this new variant, and the risks which the scientists were showing, was not showing any suggestion that severe illness as a result of infection by this new variant will not be prevented by vaccination.

"There is no such evidence, so we want to dispel any notion driven by various commentators. We can assure you that at no stage did the scientists say this particular virus will be resistant to the vaccines which are being utilised."

On the possibilities of a harder lockdown, Phaahla said the department will submit a recommendation to the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) on possible measures to prevent further spread.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the NCCC meeting on Sunday. 


Listen to more local news below Jacaranda
Jacaranda FM

Show's Stories