South African President and the African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday said his party’s top priority for 2021 is to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, reported Eyewitness News.
During a virtual address to mark the ruling party’s 109th anniversary, Ramaphosa stressed that the pandemic was a threat to the well-being of the people of the country. He said the pandemic threatens the economy, so, efforts to combat the epidemic must be intensified. The ANC canceled its celebration plans due to the pandemic.
The South African president said the government will begin a mass vaccination program as soon as the country receives its first batch of coronavirus vaccine.
He said that the program will initially prioritize healthcare workers and other frontline personnel such as teachers and policemen, the elderly, and people with health issues.
“We will progressively reach all South Africans through a mass vaccination campaign to achieve herd immunity and prevent ongoing transmission,” Ramaphosa said.
He went on to warn people against spreading misinformation around vaccines. Earlier this week, the ANC’s Gauteng secretary Jacob Khawe warned against the use of Western vaccines, saying he preferred ones from the continent or BRICS countries.
The South African president said there was a need to act against this.
“We need to actively counter the spread of disinformation relating to COVID-19 and unfounded conspiracy theories about the virus, its treatment, and the development of vaccines,” he said.
South Africa is expected to receive one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine this month from the Serum Institute of India, and a second batch is expected next month.
The South African Health Ministry reported nearly 22,000 new COVID-19 cases over the past day, along with 616 new deaths. It brings the total death toll to 32,425. More than 940,000 people have recovered from the virus in the country.