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President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to speak to the nation after the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU
President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to speak to the nation after the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU

President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to address the nation at 8pm on Sunday on SA’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

This comes after the national coronavirus command council met on Saturday over the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant in the country.

A sharp rise in cases is believed to be driven by the newly identified B.1.1.529 Covid-19 variant, which was given the name Omicron by the World Health Organization on Friday.

The council meeting involved drawing up recommendations regarding the new variant, which will be communicated on Sunday night. 

On Friday, minister in the presidency Mondli Gungubele said scientific evidence and submissions by different economic and social sectors would inform executive decision-making.

During the week, Gungubele appeared to rule out another hard lockdown. While clarifying it was his personal view, he told a media briefing after a cabinet meeting: “We wish there must never be a possibility of locking down this country again. We are still dealing with the damage of 2020.”

On Saturday, Restaurant Association of SA CEO Wendy Alberts called for a meeting with the president after “rumours and announcements” of a further lockdown, which she said would be disastrous for the economy and threaten employment and result in a “financial bloodbath”.

TimesLIVE

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