South Africa wants to introduce a “vaccine passport”

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday, September 12, that he intends to introduce a “vaccine pass”, in the context of widespread mistrust of the vaccine against Covid-19, in the country on the continent most affected by the virus.

In a television address to the nation, Cyril Ramaphosa assured that the immunization of the adult population was a necessary condition for fully reopening the economy and avoiding a fourth wave of infection, while the number of cases fell sharply in the country.

In two weeks, we will “provide more information about a vaccine passport system that can be used as evidence of vaccination for different purposes and at different events,” he said without giving further details. He added that the “sustained reduction in infections (…) in recent weeks” would, however, allow for restrictive measures from Monday.

The curfew for the night will be extended by one hour until 23:00 and the meeting limits will be raised. Restrictions on the sale of alcohol will also be eased, although protective masks will remain mandatory in places open to the public.

Top of a stubborn third wave due to the Delta variant is now obsolete. Over the past seven days, the average number of new daily infections has decreased by 29% from the previous week and 48% from the week before, the South African president said. “Our most urgent task is to vaccinate our population,” he said, noting that vaccine supply “was no longer a constraint.”

Following delays in the administration and distribution of doses, the vaccination campaign is now struggling to gain momentum due to vaccine skepticism, especially in men. To date, more than 7 million people have been fully vaccinated in South Africa, with more than a quarter of adults receiving at least one dose of the vaccine.

South African researchers monitor a new local variantwith an unusually high mutation rate, called C.1.2, although its presence so far is marginal among the new cases detected in the country.

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