Home Covid-19 Government considers alternative measures for National State of Disaster – Phaahla

Government considers alternative measures for National State of Disaster – Phaahla

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Following the delivery of the 2022 State of the Nation Address , the GCIS hosted a media briefing of the Social Protection, Community and Human Development Cluster led by Ministers of @HealthZA , Dr Joe Phaahla and @DBE_SA , Angie Motshekga #PostSoNA #SONA2022

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla says various departments are “working on alternative measures” to replace regulations related to the National State of Disaster which could be presented to the National Coronavirus Council (NCCC) as early as next week.

South Africa has been under lockdown for at least 700 days after the National State of Disaster was declared in March 2020.

“The National Health Department is leading in that regard. We are working on our health regulations, making sure that we have enough protection measures through the National Health Act and its regulations to replace the Disaster Management Act.

“We are almost at the tail end of finalising this matter and it would be reported to the National Coronavirus [Command Council]. We do not yet have confirmation but hopefully by next week the NCCC [will convene] where health and other departments’ alternative regulations can be presented,” he said on Thursday.

The Minister said the Health Department would be presenting draft regulations relating to:

  • the surveillance and the control of notifiable medical conditions;
  • public health measures at points of entry;
  • the management of human remains; and
  • environmental health.

The draft regulations are expected to go out for public comment this week.

Recovery of health services

Phaahla said that because of health resources being poured into the fight against COVID-19, many other essential health services have been put on hold.

“A lot of work has to be done to recover lost ground in terms of other health services. Right from the lockdown, every time we would be recovering, every time there’s a wave of COVID-19, it meant that health services would be reprioritised from doing the normal operations.

“We have lost ground in terms of tuberculosis, in terms of HIV and even in terms of family planning services [we] have lost ground. We need to catch up again. We assure South Africans that as our health services recover from the pressure of COVID-19, we are making sure that we can recover other services as well,” he said.

Vaccination

The Minister announced that during the financial year 2022/23; COVID-19 vaccinations will be integrated into routine health services in the public and private sector.

“The integration of COVID-19 vaccinations into [Public Health Care] services allow for improved uptake by targeting a captive audience of patients who access health services for a myriad other reasons. The integration will further decrease the duplicity of services and the need for additional management structures and health human resources that are in short supply,” he said.

He said the uptake of COVID-19 vaccinations has slowed down since about October last year.

“There was a dip in the uptake which would rise when there’s a new wave. The more people hear that this is not so deadly then you find that the uptake is reducing, but the coverage has moved steadily. In terms of adult coverage of at least one jab per adult, we are just under 48% coverage,” he said.

The total number of doses administered have now reached at least 31.2 million.

“We still have our aspiration [of vaccinating 70% of the population] and we emphasise again that we do have the capacity to provide this service. All that is required is for people to come forward.”

Minister Phaahla said the older population has “come forward in big numbers” to vaccinate and he encouraged the youth to do the same.

The department has embarked on an awareness campaigns driven by young people in order to appeal to youth who still have not vaccinated.

“There are very promising signs. Over this week, we have seen a little bit of a rise over the last few days from just over 70 000 to just a little bit under 90 000. So it looks like the campaign by young people is gaining ground,” Phaahla said.

The Health Minister warned that the fifth wave of COVID-19 infections “is on its way” and urged all those living in the country to get their jabs.

“This is the time. As much as the infection rate is lower, the numbers in hospital and people who are very sick is lower; we know that this is very unpredictable.

“The scientists tell us that the fifth wave is on its way. We don’t know how it might be. We are optimistic that even if it is highly infectious, hopefully like Omicron, it might be milder in terms of severity of illness.

“But ultimately…the only weapon is vaccination,” he said. – SAnews.

Following the delivery of the 2022 State of the Nation Address , the GCIS hosted a media briefing of the Social Protection, Community and Human Development Cluster led by Ministers of @HealthZA , Dr Joe Phaahla and @DBE_SA , Angie Motshekga #PostSoNA #SONA2022
Following the delivery of the 2022 State of the Nation Address , the GCIS hosted a media briefing of the Social Protection, Community and Human Development Cluster led by Ministers of @HealthZA , Dr Joe Phaahla and @DBE_SA , Angie Motshekga #PostSoNA #SONA2022

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