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Western Cape Government on Omicron variant

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Western Cape Government on Omicron variant

1st December 2021

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The Western Cape Government remains prepared to respond to a fourth wave and is closely monitoring its health data to ensure that we have the resources needed to respond to pressures on our platform that may arise. We also continue to engage with the international community to remove the travel bans placed on South Africa, and which have a severe impact on our provincial economy. 

The Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, said: “We are lobbying to have the travel bans removed. The World Health Organisation has been clear that this is not the correct response by the international community. The Quarterly Labour Force Survey data released yesterday demonstrates clearly just how badly we need the Tourism and Hospitality sector to create jobs over this peak season.” 

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Premier Winde continued, “I engaged with Consul Generals from our partner countries in Africa last night, during which we agreed that the measures against traveling to our region be lifted & that research be conducted to guide our response to the pandemic. Today, I will further be engaging with the SA Chamber of Commerce UK, where I will again state the devastating impact of these bans and the need to reopen our borders to one another.” 

The Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier said: “During what has been a very distressing time for those looking to return to their homes abroad, we have been in regular contact with Consul Generals who have also been present at the airport – they have been a huge support bringing calm to the situation and I thank them for their support.” 

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To support the sector during this time, Minister Maynier has:  

Convened daily coordinating meetings with relevant stakeholders on our response. We have also worked closely with Consul Generals to support stranded passengers.

Convened a meeting with the tourism and hospitality sector on the province’s response which was attended by 145 participants. This included a briefing on the latest flight schedules and developments regarding the virus.

Engaged with the Cape Town Port to assist with any bottlenecks experienced.
Later in the week, Minister Maynier will also be convening a meeting to brief the broader business sector, together with the Head of Health in the Western Cape, Dr Keith Cloete, on the Western Cape’s response. This will provide up to date and reliable information, which will help remove uncertainty. 

Among the ways in which the Western Cape Government is monitoring the impact of the travel ban is through the Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s ongoing survey on its impact on the tourism industry.  

As of 14:00 on 30 November 2021, the survey has received a total of 635 responses, predominantly located in the Garden Route, Cape Town and Cape Winelands. The results are as follows: 

  • 77% of respondents have had cancellations from clients for December 2021 bookings. 41% of respondents said that 50% or more of their December 2021 bookings were cancelled.
  • 59% of respondents have had cancellations from clients for January 2021 bookings. 29% of respondents said that 50% or more of their January 2021 bookings were cancelled.
  • 31% of respondents have had cancellations from clients for February 2021 bookings. 13% of respondents said that 50% or more of their February 2021 bookings were cancelled.
  • 90% of respondents anticipated that their revenue between December 2021 and February 2022 would be lower due to international bans.
  • 62% of respondents said they will lose 50% more of their revenue over the same period.

Yesterday, the Quarterly Labour Force Survey yet again highlighted that South Africa has seen increases in the unemployment rate. “The bans will serve to further exacerbate unemployment in our country, undermining the recovery of our tourism and hospitality industry at a time when they should be operating at their peak,” said Minister Maynier.  

Ensuring that the Western Cape continues to provide a well-run health response to the COVID-19 pandemic remains our priority.  

Provincial Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo said: “We continue to closely monitor our health platform data so that we remain prepared, and we will provide a detailed briefing to the Ad Hoc Committee in Parliament today. This will be followed by our weekly public press conference tomorrow. Being transparent on this data and our plans has been a bedrock of our COVID-19 response, and we continue to keep the people of the province informed about our plans over the next week.” 

Speaking to the importance of getting vaccinated, Minister Mbombo added: “Our best defence against getting seriously ill from COVID-19 is being vaccinated. There is no evidence to support that the vaccine is  ineffective against the variant. So please, I ask that if you are more vulnerable, have comorbidity or are over 50+ that you absolutely do not delay and get vaccinated as soon as possible. It has never been quicker or easier to do so.”  

 

 

Issued by Western Cape Provincial Government

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