South African Tourism releases a statement on latest variant and reassures the tourism community of their health and safety

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Following the announcement by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) on the new covid-19 variant (B.1.1.529), the South Afrian Tourism has released a statement to reassure the tourism community of their safety and admonishes all to observe the protocols put in place.It further states that South African borders remain open and South Africa is ready to welcome leisure tourist and business events, delegates from all over the world who wish to come to South Africa. Below is the full statement

South African Tourism (SA Tourism) has noted the latest reports of a new Covid-19 variant (B.1.1.529) discovered by South African scientists. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) yesterday, advised that 22 positive cases of the B.1.1.529 variant have been recorded in the country.

SA Tourism applauds diligence and swiftness of local scientists who quickly discovered the variant through collaborative efforts with laboratories and the Network For Genomic Surveillance In South Africa. South Africa’s epidemiological reputation is world-class, and South African Tourism has complete confidence in the country’s health sector, which has demonstrated resilience, competence and excellent expertise since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020.

Although there is limited data at this stage, experts are working around the clock, using established surveillance systems to understand the new variant and to allow for the most effective interventions.

The country’s National Coronavirus Command Council, the decision making body informing government’s response to curb the spread of Covid-19 and to deal with the consequences of the pandemic, is planned to meet in the next few days, to discuss further interventions to curb the spread of the variant. South Africa’s scientist as well as government health officials and authorities will also soon meet with the World Health Organisation in this regard.

South African borders remain open and South Africa is ready to welcome leisure tourist and business events, delegates from all over the world who wish to come to South Africa. Inter-provincial travel also remains in place so people in South Africa can continue to explore and enjoy the many varied and fun things to do in the country.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, South Africa’s businesses have provided safe tourism products, venues and establishments by implementing and adhering to globally-benchmarked health and safety protocols. The importance of non-pharmaceutical interventions such as compulsory wearing of masks, maintaining social distancing and regular washing of hands as well as socially-distanced limited gatherings in well-ventilated spaces remain in place. The safety of South African residents and all visitors to the country remains of the utmost importance.

South Africa’s sunny summer climate allows for outdoor activities and fun experiences in wide open spaces. Whether it is a safari game drive in open-air vehicles, a hike or camping under the glorious African skies, a wine tasting in the vast wine lands, South Africa has lots of safe tourism products and experiences to create memorable moments and experiences.

The South African vaccination program has retained a steady momentum and as of 25th of November over 25 million doses having been administered. The country’s goal is still to vaccinate 70% of the adult population. The vaccination of 12-17 year olds is also proceeding steadily.

As the 25th of November, there were 2 465 new COVID-19 positive cases over a period of 24hours with a daily death rate of 114 while the recovery is at 96.3%.

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