As of the 14th local time, the cumulative number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Africa has reached nearly 1.5 million, and more than 48,000 people have died.
On the evening of the 12th local time, South African President Ramaphosa delivered the 2021 State of the Union Address.
In addition to emphasizing South Africa’s economic development and reform, the State of the Union address mentioned extensively that the first task of the South African government in 2021 is to lead the people to fight the pandemic, improve the health system and large-scale vaccination. Experts say that only by defeating the pandemic can South Africa truly usher in economic recovery.
A South African study shows that the coronavirus vaccine jointly developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical Company in the United Kingdom can only play a “very small” preventive role against mild to moderate infections caused by the mutant novel coronavirus reported in South Africa. South Africa therefore decided to suspend the AstraZeneca vaccination program.
Experts pointed out that the process of vaccine development is very complicated, and the virus mutation rate is also very fast. The government is constantly following up on virus research, and the public should continue to wait patiently under the premise of self-protection.
François Venter, a South African virologist: It is necessary for President Ramaphosa to make the vaccine program the focus of work in 2021, but we also need to recognize that the current vaccine does not start is not entirely a matter for the government.
We are in a very complex environment every day, and scientific research is making continuous progress. Vaccination itself is a very complex and changeable process.
Experts point out that each vaccine has its main effects, and the effect of AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing severe illness and death is still worth recognizing.
Experts suggest that the South African government can change its thinking and carry out vaccinations to reduce the pressure on the critical care and medical system and mitigate the spread of the pandemic.
François Venter, South African virologist: The serious consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic is that patients are hospitalized or killed, and the current vaccine is very effective in preventing severe cases.
Affected by the pandemic, South Africa’s economy fell sharply in 2020, and the unemployment rate soared. South Africa’s unemployment rate in the third quarter of 2020 increased by 7.5 percentage points to 30.8% compared with the second quarter, and the number of unemployed reached 6.5 million, a record high.
Economic experts pointed out that according to the current pandemic situation, the government should take supporting the small and micro economies as the entry point to promote employment.
Brad Fisher, South African economist: If support funds can be injected into the micro-economics, excellent enterprises will recruit employees to develop.
This can expand the entire job market, which I believe will be one of the important ways for South Africa to solve the employment problem.