Home South African Ministerial Advisory Committee calls for strict regulations at borders

Ministerial Advisory Committee calls for strict regulations at borders

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“We’ve got to have strict regulations at the borders. Those coming in need to be tested and there must be clear guidelines of isolation for those that are positive and quarantine those who are negative.”

Travellers crossing into South Africa at the Beitbridge border post. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

THE MINISTERIAL Advisory Committee on Covid-19 is calling for tighter restrictions on people entering South Africa and is urging the public to continue with non-pharmaceutical interventions as the number of infections are beginning to rise again.

Co-chair of the committee Professor Koleka Mlisana said it was the public’s responsibility to wear masks, sanitise and practise physical distancing, irrespective of the coronavirus variant.

“We’ve got to have strict regulations at the borders. Those coming in need to be tested and there must be clear guidelines of isolation for those that are positive and quarantine those who are negative,” Mlisana said.

“Most of these variants of concern are coming from outside the country; we need to be ready and vigilant. We have to intervene as quickly as possible whenever we see a cluster of infections. There obviously has to be stricter restrictions to whoever is coming to the country, specifically from certain countries.”

The Health Department has announced that it has detected two variants, found in India and the UK, on home soil among 15 patients.

Two of the four cases of the B.1.617.2 variant were detected in Gauteng and two in KwaZulu-Natal. All had recently travelled from India.

Of the 11 cases of B.1.1.7, eight were detected in the Western Cape, two in Gauteng and one in KwaZulu-Natal.

Last week, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the surge in infections in India had led to some countries closing their borders to travellers from India. Mkhize said travel restrictions would need to be balanced against scientific realities to protect the economy.

“These findings are urgently being processed by the government, and announcements pertaining to travel regulations will be made after all appropriate consultations by Cabinet,” he said.