Official information from the Government of South Africa on COVID-19 numbers, response and the regulations is available at SA Coronavirus, the COVID-19 dedicated website through the Department of Health OR WhatsApp “Hi” to 0600123456.
South Africa is currently on adjusted alert Level 1 that consists of restrictions on many activities, including at workplaces and socially, to address a high risk of transmission. Click here to read in full the regulations that apply.
➡ For the latest confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Africa click here.
➡ Useful and up to date information from the World Health Organization – WHO is available here.
➡ Click here for a list of Public interest law organisations, working together to protect and promote human rights during COVID-19.
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What are the COVID-19 Symptoms? ⬇
Common symptoms include: Cough, fever, difficulty in breathing.
Other symptoms may include but are not limited to fatigue, running nose, loss of taste or smell, headache, sore throat, muscle aches or pains, and diarrhoea.
You can find more information about COVID-19 from the World Health Organisation here.
What are the COVID-19 Risk Groups? ⬇
While COVID-19 presents a risk to all people including children, there are some people who are at a higher risk. These include persons:
- with underlying illnesses such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, asthma
- who are 50 years and above.
What are the Preventive Measures you must take? ⬇
- Wear a mask in public, covering your mouth and nose. This is mandatory in South Africa. Wearing a mask on your chin or only covering your mouth does not prevent transmission. Children above the age of five should also wear masks.
- Maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5 meters. Maintain an even greater distance between yourself and others when indoors. The further away, the better.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water. If this isn’t immediately available, you can use an alcohol-based sanitizer. However, visibly soiled hands must be washed with soap and water.
- Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
What should you do if you are experiencing Symptoms? ⬇
If you experience any of the COVID-19 symptoms you should notify the nearest health worker (including community health workers) and quarantine at home for a minimum of 10 days. However, if you develop severe symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, you should seek treatment at the nearest health facility.
Please call the COVID-19 hotlines to ask for guidance:
COVID Emergency Hotline number ? 0800 029 999 or WhatsApp “Hi” to 0600 123 456.
Are COVID-19 Vaccines safe?
Millions of people have safely received COVID-19 vaccines. All of the approved COVID-19 vaccines have been carefully tested and continue to be monitored.
Like all vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines go through a rigorous, multi-stage testing process, including large clinical trials that involve tens of thousands of people. These trials are specifically designed to identify any safety concerns
An external panel of experts convened by WHO analyses the results from clinical trials and recommends whether and how the vaccines should be used. Officials in individual countries decide whether to approve the vaccines for national use and develop policies for how to use the vaccines based on WHO recommendations.
Safety of COVID-19 vaccines for different groups
COVID-19 vaccines have been tested in large, randomized controlled trials that include people of a broad age range, both sexes, different ethnicities, and those with known medical conditions. The vaccines have shown a high level of efficacy across all populations. Vaccines have been found to be safe and effective in people with various underlying medical conditions that are associated with increased risk of severe disease. These include high blood pressure; diabetes; asthma; pulmonary, liver or kidney disease; and chronic infections that are stable and controlled.
Those who should consult with a doctor before vaccination include people with a compromised immune system, older people with severe frailty, people with a history of severe allergic reaction to vaccines, people living with HIV, and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
While pregnancy brings a higher risk of severe COVID-19, at present, very little data is available to assess vaccine safety in pregnancy. However, people at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus (such as health workers), or who have a history of underlying medical conditions that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated during pregnancy after consultation with their health care provider. There is no evidence that suggests vaccination would cause harm during pregnancy.
The vaccine can be offered to those who are breastfeeding if they are part of a group recommended for vaccination (health workers, for example).
Safety of COVID-19 vaccines for children
COVID-19 vaccine trials for children are currently under way, and when results become available, WHO will provide updated guidance for vaccination in children. Vaccine trials targeting adults were prioritized because COVID-19 has proven to be a more serious and dangerous disease among older populations.
Following proven health measures is still the best way to keep everyone, including children, safe from COVID-19. This includes keeping hands clean, practising sneezing and coughing into bent elbows, opening windows, wearing a mask if age-appropriate, and continuing physical distancing.
Source: World Health Organisation – WHO
Where can you get Information about COVID-19 Vaccines? ⬇
South Africa rolled out its national COVID-19 vaccine programme, which aims to vaccinate 40 million people, including refugees and asylum seekers.
The vaccine will be administered free of charge at various points of service across all parts of the country. The country’s vaccination campaign draws on the principles of universal health coverage where all adults living in South Africa have access to the vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccine was rolled out in three phases:
Phase 1 focus on frontline healthcare workers.
Phase 2 include:
- Essential workers.
- Persons in congregate settings.
- Persons >50 years.
- Persons >18 years with co-morbidities.
Phase 3 will focus on persons older than 18 years.
Currently all persons aged 18 years and older are eligible to get vaccinated in South Africa.
For more information visit the Official South African Governmental Vaccine News, Updates & Information Portal.
Access World Health Organisation – WHO’s dedicated page to Covid-19 vaccines by clicking here.
How can I enroll to get the vaccine? ⬇
Currently, all individuals at the age of 18 and above are eligible to get the vaccine and are required to register.
You can register by:
- Using the online registration on the EVDS Self Enrolment Portal
- Dialing *134*832# and registering via USSD
- Sending the word “register” via WhatsApp to 0600 123 456
- Calling the National Toll-Free Call Centre on ? 0800 029 999, where somebody will help you to register and answer any questions about the vaccination rollout.
The vaccination system will be based on a pre-vaccination registration and appointment system at a specific vaccination site. The system will help government plan ahead on the amount of doses needed at any particular point in time.
An electronic vaccination data system (EVDS) will assist with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines across the country. EVDS is an online self-enrolment portal where individuals can register via a digital device for an appointment. Those who qualify will be sent a notification through SMS informing them of the time and place that the vaccine will be available.
You will have to provide your asylum seeker/Refugee number, a contact number and unique code that is sent to them when at the vaccination site. Those who do not have access to the internet can approach healthcare facilities to assist them with assisted registration on the EVDS.
For more information visit the Official Governmental Vaccine News, Updates & Information Portal.
What is the Contact Tracing App? ⬇
The Health Department in South Africa has launched the COVID Alert SA mobile application to strengthen South Africa’s digital contact tracing efforts. The COVID Alert SA app will complement and strengthen the existing methods as a powerful tool to enable the instant notification of contacts following a positive test.
How does the COVID Alert SA app work? ⬇
When an app user anonymously reports to the app that they have COVID‑19, the COVID Alert SA app sends notifications to those devices that were in close contact with this person’s device. These exposure notifications warn those app users that they could potentially have been exposed to the virus. App users are guided as to what to do next to optimise their wellbeing and prevent the spread of the COVID‑19 virus to others. At no stage does the app reveal the users’ identities. Confidentiality and anonymity are core to the app’s contact-tracing process.
Click here to download the app.