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Tuesday, 12 July 2022 21:18

493 new COVID-19 cases recorded in SA bringing total cases to 3 998 466.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), 493 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3,998,466.

The National Department of Health reports 15 deaths, of which 2 occurred in the past 24 to 48 hours. The cumulative COVID-19 deaths are 101,895 to date.

Meanwhile Standard Bank has withdrawn its Covid-19 vaccination policy with immediate effect, with approximately 95% of its employees already vaccinated.

In an emailed statement, the bank said it took a range of factors into account in reviewing its policy, including recent regulatory developments, the current state of the pandemic in South Africa, and the high vaccination rate amongst its employees.

In a statement issued to employees at the end of June, Standard Bank South Africa chief executive Lungisa Fuzile said that the country had reached a significant milestone in managing the Covid-19 pandemic and that the bank would be revising some of its safety measures and the existing Covid-19 policy and protocols.

"Based on the current context of the pandemic, we believe that our vaccination policy is no longer required. Consequentially, it is no longer compulsory for employees to be vaccinated, or to produce a negative PCR or Rapid Antigen test if they are unvaccinated, in order to enter our premises," said Fuzile.

He emphasised that, even though the bank had withdrawn the policy, it continues to support and encourage vaccination.

Should circumstances with respect to the pandemic change, the bank may, in future, adjust and review its policy and protocols in order to maintain a safe working environment, he said.

"Thank you for all your efforts in helping us maintain a safe working environment and continuing to serve our clients in what has been a challenging time for many of us," said Fuzile.

Standard Bank's decision comes after recent Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) rulings took various positions – for and against – mandatory vaccine policies.

In the past, the CCMA ruled that workers who were fired for refusing to take the vaccine were dismissed fairly. However, more recent rulings have found in favour of employees, citing unfair dismissal.