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South Africa

Vulnerable people urged to be cautious after more COVID restrictions scrapped

Professor Wolfgang Preiser stressed that those living with underlying health conditions must still apply caution in the face of the virus still being in circulation.

FILE: Two patients with COVID-19, one (L) breathing in oxygen, in the COVID-19 ward at Khayelitsha Hospital, about 35km from the centre of Cape Town, on 29 December 2020. Picture: RODGER BOSCH/AFP

CAPE TOWN – Head of medical virology at Stellenbosch University, Professor Wolfgang Preiser said that vulnerable people should still take extra care in protecting themselves against COVID-19.

His comments come after a National Coronavirus Command Council meeting held on Wednesday and the health minister gazetting the scrapping of all remaining COVID-19 regulations, including compulsory mask-wearing indoors.

Restrictions on the number of people allowed to gather indoors have also been done away with.

COVID-19 hospitalisations and deaths during the Omicron wave have been far less compared to what health experts reported during previous pandemic waves.

Professor Wolfgang Preiser stressed that those living with underlying health conditions must still apply caution in the face of the virus still being in circulation.

“The elderly, people with diabetes, people with underlying conditions, it’s actually amazing how many such cases there are,” he said.

Preiser pointed out that wearing masks was not perfect in protecting against the coronavirus, but did reduce the risk of infecting others and also protected the person wearing it.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla will outline specific details around the move to drop COVID-19 regulations on Thursday morning.

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