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This morning I awoke to read a disturbing article stating government intends putting an end to the state of disaster soon (and rightly so). Yet this will apparently only be done once legislation is in place to enforce social distancing and mask wearing mandates.

It is pointless to “technically” end the state of disaster, yet keep many of the same restrictions in place regardless. I understand fully that countries that have lifted mask mandates have high levels of vaccination uptake, but as we now know the current versions of available vaccines do little to actually stop the spread of Covid-19, even if they are still highly effective in preventing serious illness and death.

I was fully vaccinated with both dozes of the Pfizer vaccine and nonetheless contracted Covid-19 in December, which I always knew was a possibility, so it did not take me by surprise. Either way, I was glad to be vaccinated as this put my mind at ease, and I will definitely be getting my booster at the end of the month, when I am eligible.

What is clear to me is that the majority of those who have not had the jab are unvaccinated by choice and not because of a lack of supply or any other logistical issues.

How long will government enforce mask wearing and social distancing for its citizens when the rest of the world has finally realised that the new variants cannot be contained and therefore have dropped many of these onerous requirements, which are now for the most part pointless anyway?

Are we going to wait until tens of millions of stubborn anti-vaxxers miraculously come to their senses and get the jab so we have a high enough percentage of people who are vaccinated? Will we be required to wear masks, be constantly sprayed down with sanitiser and have our temperatures taken everywhere we go for another year or two just to protect stubborn and unreasonable people from falling ill?

My view is that whoever chooses not to be vaccinated does so at their own risk. The state should no longer be trying to protect people and save the lives of those who don’t want to be saved. If anyone who is at risk and worried about their safety in public (whether vaccinated or not), there is nothing stopping them from wearing a surgical mask or, even better, an N95 mask.

Society as a whole can no longer be expected to carry this burden, which was gladly borne in solidarity with our fellow citizens before effective vaccines were available. However, the appetite for this to continue indefinitely is simply no longer there. 

It is high time the state of disaster and all associated mandates are ended. We have sacrificed enough, and want our lives to return to as close to normal in 2022. Government is mistaken if it thinks we will keep following obsolete rules like sheep while the rest of the world enjoys regained freedoms and walks around freely without being smothered by their masks.

Mark Khoury
Umhlanga Rocks

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