OPINION: The UK is wrong about keeping SA on the red list – here’s why…

The UK's red list - which imposes extremely strict limitations on travellers - still features South Africa. But things just aren't adding up.

OPINION: The UK is wrong about keeping SA on the red list – here’s why…

Former Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom probably said it best on Monday evening, when he told the UK to stop being a ‘silly little island’ and remove South Africa from its troublesome red list. And he’s right… because the reasons that are being used to keep travel off-limits between the two countries are downright ridiculous.

Red list red mist: What are you playing at, Britain?

The vaccines used in Mzansi AND Britain are exactly the same. So keeping South Africa on a red list – forcing travellers between both nations to self-isolate for 10 days and pay tens of thousands of rand in mandatory quarantine fees – could be seen as a ‘prejudiced decision’. That’s according to the SA Tourism Services Association, anyway.

The harsh words from those involved with the industry are understandable. The UK and its sun-starved citizens make up an almighty part of tourism revenue in South Africa, and businesses that have barely survived for 18 months of this pandemic are now facing another gut-punch – and it’s all based on misinformation.

Is ‘bad science’ to blame for the UK’s stance on South Africa?

Take this poor excuse of a statement from the UK High Commission in SA on Monday. It’s a study in ignorance…

“The red list, which covers over 50 countries, is in place to protect public health in the UK. We do not want current travel restrictions to be in place any longer than necessary and recognise the disruption they cause and the impact on people’s lives. The UK highly values its long and important relationship with South Africa.”

“Many countries have had to make decisions regarding border measures to protect public health. We recognise positive developments in SA – cases going down, data on variants of concern improving, and vaccinations rising. But we remain concerned about the continued presence of Beta given its potential ability to circumvent vaccines.”

Fears about Beta ‘completely unfounded’

Hang on a minute… the continued presence of Beta? The ability to circumvent vaccines? To quote a phrase from the north of England… ‘are we f***ing rate or what?’ – that’s really not what’s happening here. If this is the criteria that UK officials are using to keep South Africa on the red list, then they can rip the whole thing up. Because it’s bogus.

Let’s indulge our friends from the UK, just for a moment…

  • Yes, the Beta variant does have an impact on the Pfizer vaccine… but it’s marginal
  • Against other strains, Pfizer is 95% effective
  • The estimated efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine against the Beta variant is 94%
  • It doesn’t British politician to work out that the difference is a miserly, poxy 1%. So the ‘circumvention’ talk is daft…
  • Journal, coronavirus vaccines offer ‘substantial immunity’ against Beta.

Beta in South Africa? It’s not a big deal…

Right, that’s one false claim sorted. The other, regarding the actual prevalence of Beta, is comical. Leading virologist Tulio de Oliveira shared a chart on Sunday, mapping the dominance of Delta in South Africa. This variant has been so overpowering, it has all but ERADICATED Beta from the country. The C.1.2 variant of concern has also fizzled out.

Photo: Tulio de Oliveira

Red list latest: Experts vow to fight on

Just for perspective more than anything else, it’s worth looking at the case rates in both countries. The UK recorded over 36 000 new infections on Monday 20 September. South Africa barely racked up 1 500 positive tests today.

Britain is living with the virus thanks to its arsenal of jabs, and comparing countries isn’t always an exact science. But when a nation with 24 times more daily COVID-19 cases than Mzansi puts us on their red list, it’s puzzling.

Meanwhile, Professor de Oliveira has warned officials in Blighty that this battle is far from finished…

Source : The South African More   

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Pictures | Quade Cooper leaves Siya Kolisi with a message after shirt swap following the Wallabies win over the Springboks

The Wallabies completed a comprehensive double over the Springboks on home soil on Saturday, but that has done nothing to sour relations between Quade Cooper and Siya Kolisi.

Pictures | Quade Cooper leaves Siya Kolisi with a message after shirt swap following the Wallabies win over the Springboks

The Wallabies completed a comprehensive double over the Springboks on home soil on Saturday, but that has done nothing to sour relations between Quade Cooper and Siya Kolisi.

Australia won the first game narrowly

The first game saw the Springboks run the Wallabies close with only Cooper’s last minute heroics preventing Kolisi’s Springboks from claiming an unlikely victory.

READ | SPRINGBOK CHESLIN KOLBE SET TO SWAP TOULOUSE FOR FRENCH TOP 14 RIVALS

That was not the only moment that proved to be heroic from Cooper, however, as he marked his returned to the Wallabies after four years with a polished kicking game, proving to be very effective for his country from the cone. That impact was further amplified by Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard who left eight out  of10 possible points off the boot, which saw Kolisi’s side going down narrowly 25-28.

Kolisi didnt have a similar effect

Kolisi himself, unlike Cooper, didn’t have the most positive influence on the game for the Springboks, as he found himself penalised for a tip tackle early on during the proceedings. The 10 minutes he sat out subsequently coincided with points on the board for the Wallabies and an early ascendancy in the fixture. 

READ | WATCH | APHELELE FASSI BECOMES THE NEWEST MEMBER OF THE ROCNATION SPORTS AGENCY

Fortunes between both Kolisi and Cooper as well as the Springboks and Wallabies remained the same or got even worse for the South Africans as they were this time, outplayed by their Australian counterparts in the second test to claim a 30-17 victory over the visitors. 

True sportsmanship by both Cooper and Kolisi

But even with that result as it is, the sportsmanship between Cooper and Kolisi depicted the respect between both the Wallabies and Springboks camp. After the match Cooper and Kolisi exchanged jersey’s and later Cooper would take to his social media platforms to issue a message of respect for the World Cup winning captain. 

Coopers message

“Honour to share this moment with @siya_kolisi_the_bear a man that continues to be a leader, not only for rugby but for many all around the world by being an example of what it takes each day to stand tall in the face of adversity but also strive and stay true to who he is as a man in times of great success. Continue to lead brother. 

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 Love and respect.” Concluded Cooper.

Here are the pictures below courtesy of Quade Cooper Facebook:

Source : The South African More   

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