Voluntary mask wearing supported to protect the elderly and vulnerable
The Western Cape Health Department welcomes the repeal of the COVID-19 regulations. At the same time, we encourage voluntary mask wearing where applicable - people who have flu symptoms, people who have underlying chronic conditions and the elderly.
We urge individual responsibility to live with COVID-19 which is not "gone”, and we should continue to be mindful of the vulnerable. We also encourage vaccination (for COVID-19 and flu) and ongoing good ventilation and other good habits.
Masks have proven to be a protective measure against airborne diseases and have become part of everyday actions in several countries. We too can continue with this protective behaviour voluntarily when in crowds and places where there is poor ventilation. Another simple action to navigate around airborne diseases is to ensure we open our windows and let lots of fresh air in.
In addition, vaccination offers the greatest protection against severe illness and death, and we implore everyone 12 years and older to get their vaccinations are up to date including their boosters. COVID is not gone, but we are learning to live with it, and vaccination is one of those ways we can live with it safely.
The vaccine provides protection against severe illness and death. Recent data shows that although there continued to be new infections, we have had fewer admissions and deaths as before.
Among COVID-19 cases diagnosed recently, vaccination provides strong protection against with a 3.6x lower risk of hospitalisation and death if boosted and a 4.3x lower risk if boosted against severe admission (ICU/ventilation/steroids)/death.
To date, almost 5,5millions have been administrated leading to approximately 3 million people being vaccinated in the Western Cape. The province has achieved the target of 70% of those aged 60 years and older having received their full primary vaccination series and we now need to also increase the uptake amongst the other age groups.
Let’s continue to generate increased demand for unvaccinated persons and the take up of boosters for vaccinated persons. Find your nearest vaccination site here: https://coronavirus.westerncape.gov.za/vaccine/latest-vaccination-sites and get vaccinated or boosted today.