Introduce vaccine passports now to help South Africa deal with ever-shifting lockdown levels: CEO

Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) chief executive Busi Mavuso says that the introduction of vaccine passports in South Africa is long overdue in helping the economy to recover.

With South Africa’s vaccine rollout now past its nascent stage and the country administering a million doses every four to five days, it’s time to consider and introduce vaccine passports.

We need to keep as much of the economy as open as possible, she said.

Mavuso added that passports would ensure that much of the economy is shielded from the continued shifting between various lockdown levels.

“On a broader scale, we think vaccine passports against the backdrop of some vaccine hesitancy will help shield the economy from rocking between heightened and reduced lockdown levels.

“Under such conditions, it is difficult to attract much-needed investment that could help stave off rapidly rising jobless numbers – the highest of the 80 industrialised nations tracked by Bloomberg. SA’s economy has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, losing more than 1-million jobs,” she said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has also expressed his support for introducing vaccine passports, with these set to be further detailed when he next addresses the nation.

In a press conference on Friday (17 September), health minister Joe Phaahla said that a team in the department is still working on the certificates and that the department will present an implementation plan to the National Coronavirus Control Council shortly.

Phaahla said that other government departments such as Home Affairs would also be involved in the process, as this is not an undertaking his department can do on its own.

The health minister said that the government is also considering the further easing of lockdown restrictions.

“If we continue to comply with the personal health and safety measures, more relaxations will be on the way. We will be reporting to the national coronavirus command council in two weeks, and if there continues to be good cooperation, the (rules) will be relaxed.”

Phaahla said that some of the eased restrictions could include:

  • An 00h00 evening curfew;
  • Alcohol would be allowed to be sold for off-site consumption on a Saturday;
  • More leisure activities will be allowed to reopen.

Read: New ‘Brazilian grant’ and basic income being considered for South Africa: Treasury

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Introduce vaccine passports now to help South Africa deal with ever-shifting lockdown levels: CEO