13 July 2024

By Al Qalam Reporter

The Islamic Medical Association of South Africa (IMA-SA) has appealed to South Africa’s Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize to immediately impose a mandatory14-day isolation period for travelers coming from “redline” countries such as India and Brazil to minimise the risk of a third wave of Covid – and better still to ban travelers from those countries.

The 14-day isolation that (IMASA) proposes should also include South Africans returning home from these redline countries where there has been an “explosion of Covid infections” especially in India and Brazil.

In his letter, Dr Yakub Moosa Essack, President, of the National Executive Committee of the Islamic Medical Association of South Africa (IMASA), wrote that the new Covid-19 variant from India and Brazil poses a clear danger to South Africans. Ideally, he said, all travelers from India and Brazil should be restricted from entering South Africa.

“The explosion of Covid infections internationally and in India and Brazil in particular, with new variants of the Covid-19 virus, coupled with our delayed vaccination program, poses a clear and present danger to the wellbeing of South Africans.

“Many countries have stopped incoming travelling from India, Brazil and other red line countries altogether, or have instituted mandatory 14-day quarantine in designated areas for incoming travelers.

“Presently travelers coming from India, and other red line countries, on presentation of a negative Covid test at point of entry into South Africa, can immediately travel freely all over our country without any isolation period.

“We appeal to you to institute immediate restrictions on travel from all red line countries for those who need to come home from these countries or for foreigners who have urgent business in South Africa to have imposed on them a mandatory 14-day isolation period, at their own costs, as is practiced all over the world.

“We do believe, however, that owing to difficulties in monitoring quarantine as well as cost associated with such an exercise, a total ban on all incoming travel from passengers from India and Brazil be implemented on a 14-day review basis.

Dr Moosa-Essack expressed his organization’s heartfelt concern for the wellbeing of the people of India and Brazil at this time.

“We encourage all measures for humanitarian and logistical support, which we know that our government would be offering without question.

Dr Moosa-Essack said it was absolutely imperative to have a balanced approach in reducing and mitigating the risk of the spread of the Indian Variant of the Covid19 virus while the country rolls out its vaccine programme.

“South Africa is at great risk of a third wave and we need to ensure that any and all external factors are controlled to minimise the risk. Our country’s experience with both the first and second wave has taught us that we must ensure every measure is taken to prevent and guard against any risk posed that would trigger and/or maintain a third wave with multiple variants

“It is heart-breaking to see people struggling for hospital access, oxygen shortages, mass cremations and burials and we need to ensure that a similar scenario does not unfold in our country. We pray for the safety of all the people of the world and all those who have lost loved ones during this pandemic”, Dr Moosa-Essack said.

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