The Health Department will not impose a lockdown or mandatory mask rule after the country recorded its first case of the newly discovered Covid-19 XBB.1.5.
The mutation was first detected by scientists at Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape.
Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla, said there have been several variations of the omicron variant across the world since the emergence of Covid-19.
He said there is no need to bring back restrictions as seen in previous years.
Speaking to eNCA, Phaahla said there is no reason to consider, at this stage, to implement any lockdown measures.
Phaahla said the department and National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) met with the President to discuss the latest developments.
“There was a unanimous agreement that with the information at our disposal and information throughout the world, we have no reason to consider the reinstatement of any lockdowns. That is just out of consideration at this stage. We believe in reinforcing the tried and tested measures,” he said.
Phaahla said at this stage, the message is for South Africans to continue to vaccinate and get their boosters.
Speaking during a media briefing earlier on Tuesday, Phaahla said there was only one confirmed case of the newly detected variant in SA.
Meanwhile, Deputy Health Minister Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, said as hundreds of learners prepare to head back to school in the coming days, there is no need for a mandatory mask rule. He said it is optional.
The variant was detected at the Stellenbosch University Network for Genomics Surveillance in SA. .
The experts confirmed that there were no increases in cases, deaths or hospitalisations in the country.
Phaahla said a sample was taken for testing and the variant discovered. He explained that while the case was detected in the Western Cape, the patient could have been from anywhere in the country.
The department said it has been advised by the World Health Organization to step up its vaccination drive and ensure people who display Covid symptoms are tested.