Cape Town – President Cyril Ramaphosa is on Saturday expected to meet with the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) amid growing concerns over the recent spike in new Covid-19 infections in South Africa.
The meeting also comes following confirmation by scientists on Thursday that a new variant has been detected in the country.
The new strain, named Omicron, has been blamed for the surge in infections.
According to EWN, the meeting was initially set to take place on Sunday but it was brought forward.
The presidency said the meeting was important as it was set to look at the developments on the virus.
“The outcomes of the NCCC discussions and further consultations will be communicated in the coming days,” IOL quoted the presidency as saying.
Meanwhile, a number of countries have imposed travel bans on South Africa after the discovery of the new variant.
Britain was the first to slap a flight ban from countries in southern Africa, just hours after South Africa revealed it had detected the variant which has multiple mutations.
Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the US among others on Friday joined Britain in restricting flights from the region.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the 27-nation European Union, also proposed a complete suspension of flights to and from southern Africa until there was a ‘clear understanding about the danger’ posed by the new variant.
However, the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday urged against travel curbs at this stage.
South Africa has the highest pandemic numbers in Africa, notching up around 2.95 million cases, of which 89 657 have been fatal.
Picture: Getty Images
Additional reporting by AFP