DEVELOPING | National Coronavirus Command Council meeting will take place on Saturday | News24

UPDATE | National Coronavirus Command Council meeting will take place on Saturday

2021-11-26 11:12:00 PM

UPDATE | National Coronavirus Command Council meeting will take place on Saturday

More countries are imposing travel bans on South Africa following the detection of a highly mutated Covid-19 variant on Thursday.

Just a few hours later, the United Kingdom (UK) announced that travellers from South Africa, and neighbouring countries, would be barred from entering England.News of B.1.1.529, which has been detected in Botswana, Hong Kong, and South Africa, has rattled the prospect of international travel.

26 November 19:56Guatemala to restrict southern African travellers due to new Covid-19 variant, says presidentGuatemala will impose restrictions on visitors from some south African nations after a new fast-spreading coronavirus variant was discovered on the continent, President Alejandro Giammattei said on Friday.

Global authorities have reacted with alarm to the new variant detected in South Africa, with the European Union and Britain among those tightening border controls as researchers seek to find out if the mutation was vaccine-resistant."Yesterday we received the report of a new variant, for which we have already given the order for restrictions of people coming from those countries, which is not many," the president told media.

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Guatemala would limit entry to travellers from Lesotho, Mozambique and South Africa, the president said, although the Guatemalan Immigration Institute said it is still waiting to receive the presidential order.-  Reuters26 November 19:55Passengers from South Africa face wait, Covid-19 testing in Amsterdam 

Several hundred passengers arriving in Amsterdam on two flights from South Africa on Friday faced hours of delays and testing due to concerns over a newly detected variant of the coronavirus.The Dutch government issued a ban on all air travel from southern Africa early on Friday. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said in a statement that passengers already in the air would have to undergo testing and quarantine upon arrival.

Passengers on the two KLM flights, from Cape Town and Johannesburg, said they had been kept waiting on the tarmac for hours."Vigorous applause because there is a BUS that has come to take us ... somewhere," tweeted New York Times journalist Stephanie Nolen, a passenger on the flight from Johannesburg.

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"Bus to a hall to a huge queue. I can see Covid testers in bright blue PPE far on the distance. Still no snacks for the sad babies," she added in a second tweet.The passengers"are currently being transferred to a secure location at Schiphol," the airport said in a statement.

"Everything is done carefully and that's why it took some time. Passengers are provided with food and drinks. They will be tested (for) the coronavirus."Local health authorities later clarified that only passengers that test positive for Covid-19 will be forced to quarantine. Results from the tests are expected later on Friday.

The Dutch government is expected to announce new restrictions, including the night-time closure of bars, restaurants and most stores, later on Friday as it grapples with a record-breaking wave of Covid-19 cases that is swamping its healthcare system.- Reuters

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26 November 19:53Cyprus bans travel from eight African states on new Covid-19 concernsCyprus on Friday said it was banning arrivals from a number of African states, including South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, following the detection of a new Covid-19 variant.

The island's Health Ministry said the travel ban applied to persons who had travelled from, or through, South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Botswana over the past 14 days.The ban does not apply to Cypriot, EU nationals, nationals of the European Economic Area, Switzerland, or permanent Cyprus residents provided they carry a negative 72 hour PCR test and are tested again upon arrival. They will also have to quarantine in specially-designated hotels for a 10-day period, the Health Ministry said.

No cases of the new variant have been detected on the island, it added.By late Thursday, Cyprus had recorded 131 951 cases of Covid-19 since its detection on the island in March 2020, and 590 deaths.- Reuters26 November 19:52EU countries agree to suspend travel to southern Africa

European Union states have agreed to suspend travel from southern Africa after the detection of a new Covid-19 variant, the presidency of the EU said on Friday.A committee of health experts from all 27 EU states"agreed on the need to activate the emergency break and impose temporary restriction on all travel into EU from southern Africa", the Slovenian presidency of the EU said on Twitter.

Restrictions will apply to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, European Commission spokesperson Eric Mamer said on Twitter."Tests, quarantine and contact tracing for incoming passengers are important," he wrote.

The new coronavirus variant, first detected in South Africa, has caused global alarm as researchers seek to find out if it is vaccine-resistant.- Reuters26 November 19:51Saudi Arabia suspends flights with 7 countries over Covid concerns - SPASaudi Arabia has suspended flights to and from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini due to concerns related to the spread of Covid-19, the state news agency (SPA) reported on Friday.

- ReutersThe question and answer session has ended. 26 November 19:44In closing, Phaahla says:"We are in a marathon and we are going to have to pull together to continue fighting this pandemic". 26 November 19:42Prof. Tulio de Oliveira says on the scientific front, many scientists are concerned about the mutations of Covid-19. 

He says the World Health Organisation will give a Greek name to the variant and also announce its classification.De Oliveria says many of the top scientist from across the world have praised South Africa for its transparency sharing scientific data and coming forward to announce that it had detected a new variant. 

26 November 19:31Phaahla says while he does not want to pre-empt the outcomes of consultations with scientists and other stakeholder, there might be some restrictions on local and international travel as part of government's risk adjusted strategy. 

26 November 19:15Phaahla adds that earlier on Friday, he received a phone call from the World Health Organisation's regional director Dr Matshidiso Moeti, who expressed her disgust at the steps taken by various countries to ban SA travellers.

Phaahla says Moeti said travel bans were counterproductive in terms of solidarity in fighting the pandemic.26 November 19:11Phaahla is asked about the possibility of a harder lockdown. He says nothing has been concluded, adding that there will be more meetings over the weekend. He says all stakeholders will be consulted. He says, from the Department of Health's side, they are merely examining the situation and will make some recommendations. He reiterates that there has been a"spiking" of infections.

"It will be necessary to take precautions. We know the measures which have worked, such as reducing crowding indoors and outdoors, and encouraging people to keep a social distance," he says. He says its too early to say what level of reduction will be implemented for gatherings.

26 November 19:03Phaahla says the government hasn't, at this stage, decided on whether it should recommend mandatory vaccinations.26 November 19:00Deputy Health minister Sibongiseni Dhlomo adds that while other countries have announced 'premature' travel bans on SA travellers, it is comforting to know that the US has not followed suit and is allowing scientists to study the intricacies of the new variant. 

26 November 18:49Phaahla says, importantly, that one in four of people hospitalised with the new variant has been vaccinated. He says there is"no indication" that the majority of those hospitalised are vaccinated.26 November 18:47Phaahla is asked about holding back in information to avoid possible fallouts. He says the country does not intend to do that, as it values transparency.

He says"at any given stage, these mutations are happening all over the world. If a scientist makes an observation ... then they need to report that."26 November 18:46Phaahla says the discovery of the new Covid-19 variant is world wide health emergency and it must be treated as such.

"We must work together instead of punishing each other," he says. 26 November 18:45Responding to a question on the global response to the new variant in SA, Phaahla says countries are looking for"scapegoats" for the current pandemic.

He says that SA is seeing a rise in cases, but, compared to other countries, our infection rate is much slower.He says:"We don't want to apportion blame. The way the virus moves ... it is not inconceivable that this [variant] may have arisen in other countries."

26 November 18:40MAC member Professor Ian Sanne says there is every indication to say that vaccines are effective on the new variant, but this will need to be monitored.He says there has been an increase of hospitalised people. He encourages the public to get vaccinated, adding that the new variant may be more transmissible.

More information will be available by next week, he says.26 November 18:35Dr Nicholas Crisp says it has proved to be more complicated to vaccinate undocumented migrants in SA. He says three piloted projects have already been rolled out to vaccinate undocumented migrants. 

26 November 18:33On undocumented migrants, he says SA has already started to vaccinate undocumented migrants and will allow Dr Nicholas Crisp to elaborate. 26 November 18:33Phaahla, answering a question from the media, slams countries'"draconian" and"knee-jerk" reactions to SA's announcing of the new variant. He mentions that Israel and Belgium also have reports of this variant. He reiterates that the country is following norms and standards set by the WHO.

He goes on to say that the country didn't even have a chance to engage with the UK over it putting South Africa on the red list once again.26 November 18:21Phaahla now moves on to the Q&A.26 November 18:20Phaahla stresses that the scientists' found that there is no"suggestion at this stage" that this variant will create severe illnesses.

He says:"We want to dispel any notion by various commentators that bans made by other countries was about that."26 November 18:20He takes aim at countries setting travel bans. He says the government assures other countries that SA will do everything to protect citizens, and that it will continue the rollout of vaccines.

He adds that the reactions of other countries are against the norms and standards as guided by the World Health Organisation. He says the vaccines remain a major a bulwark in terms of protecting against the Covid-19. He says vaccines have been proven to be very effective. 

26 November 18:17He says there are concerns that medical responses to the variant do not work, and the government seeks to quell such fears. He says he wants to"emphasise the fact" that, at this stage, scientists found no evidence that the variant is more transmissible.

He says it is still early days to see how the variant will behave.26 November 18:15Phaahla highlights the importance of the country being transparent about its response to the pandemic at this time.He says scientists inform the government when there are major"mutations" of the Covid virus.

He says scientists' preliminary findings found that the new variant may be more transmissible.26 November 18:14Phaahla says all they did was to be in line with norms and standards as described by the World Health Organisation26 November 18:13Health Minister Joe Phaahla begins his address by saying that government is aware that the announcement which was made by scientists has created panic and some uncertainty. He says this was expected in a situation of this nation where they are dealing with a moving target. He assures South Africans that some of the reaction has been unjustified. 

26 November 18:09The question and answer session has started 26 November 17:38

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This council must be disbanded * its useless *its biased *its misleading people in the name of science *its oppressing people *its unconstitutional We are tired of this mendaciloquence and dishonesty of the Ramaphosa and this diabolical council

Sunday's Covid command council meeting will decide if you’ll be lonely this ChristmasPresident Cyril Ramaphosa will chair a meeting of the national coronavirus command council on Sunday to discuss the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant in SA. Yup! It's the headline for me 😂😂😂 Ramaphosa must just resign taking instructions from his white friends won't work this time and make us suffer it will end tears.

New variant: Here's how to track the spread of Covid-19 B.1.1.529The National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) will meet on Sunday to discuss further interventions to curb the spread of the variant. This one addressing the NCCC hai ngeke

New COVID variant: NCCC to present scientific evidence to RamaphosaPresident Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to be presented with scientific evidence and submissions by various economic and social sectors at the national coronavirus command council on Sunday. 'Scientific ' Well that's rubbish. He had this planned ever since they list the elections. IsolateTheVaccinated As if the old pathetic spiteful inadequate ‘council’ can register anything scientific 🤬 blunt bans loading as the incompetent old woman no doubt pulls out that knife to hack away again

Coronavirus command council meeting brought forward as Covid-19 cases spikeThe meeting had been scheduled for Sunday amid rapidly increasing Covid-19 cases across the country, particularly in Gauteng. Thank you so much Mr James for making earning from crypto currency am very sorry for doubting you at first I don't believe there still account manager, Bitcoin investment is real contact him via WhatsApp easily 👉👉 +1 (619) 354-8512 Don't be so inpatient people!! Between tender documentation, selecting vendors and dealing with the newly discovered Corona variant our brothers in the ANC do all they can. 'Rome' wasn't build in one day.

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