South Africa’s health minister received his coronavirus booster shot on Tuesday and urged South Africans to get vaccinated.
Speaking to reporters in Pretoria, Joe Phahla urged citizens “to ignore these anti-vax protesters” and focus on the “facts ahead of us”.
The minister also wished South African President Cyril Ramaphosa “a speedy recovery” after contracting COVID-19 earlier this week.
The president is self-isolating in Cape Town and is being monitored by the South African military health service, his office said in a statement.
Phahla received her Johnson & Johnson booster at Zuid-Afrikaans Hospital with the first group of health workers who took part in a vaccination trial between February and May.
Through Sisonke’s trial vaccination campaign, more than 400,000 health workers received a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as part of a study to assess its effectiveness in South Africa at a time when the there was concern about whether the vaccines would work well against other variants. of the virus.
After a period of low transmission of around 200 new cases per day in early November, COVID-19 cases in South Africa have started to increase dramatically. On November 25, scientists in the southern African country confirmed the omicron variant, which has more than 50 mutations.
Meanwhile, a plane from the Russian Emergencies Ministry arrived in the country on Tuesday with humanitarian aid.
A Russian Emergencies Ministry plane arrived in South Africa on Tuesday with humanitarian aid amid the spread of the new strain of omicron coronavirus.
Specialists from Rospotrebnadzor (the Russian Federal Service for Monitoring Protection of Consumer Rights and Human Welfare), specialists from the Russian Ministry of Health, 2,000 COVID tests and a mobile laboratory have been sent to South Africa , according to the head of the supply department of International activity, Roman Sergeyev.
Besides delivering humanitarian aid, Russian sanitary doctors will conduct research on the omicron strain in South Africa.
“Russian specialists, together with colleagues from the Republic of South Africa, intend to conduct research on the specifics of diagnosis and prevention, pathogenesis (the way in which a disease develops) and treatment of new coronavirus infection caused by the new omicron strain,” Rospotrebnadzor deputy head Vyacheslav Smolenskiy said.
The Russian specialists’ trip comes after an order from Russian President Vladimir Putin, which followed a request from South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, according to the Russian Emergencies Ministry.