Covid-19 Spike Driven By Omicron Delays Nuclear Imbizo

The spike in Covid-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant has spooked organisers of the Nuclear Technology Imbizo into postponing the gathering to next year in March.

The two-day imbizo will now take place on 16 and 17 March in Cape Town at the International Convention Centre.

Initially, the imbizo was scheduled for 8 and 9 December 2021. 

On Wednesday the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said South Africa recorded 26 976 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24hrs.

During that period, the NICD recorded 54 Covid-19 related deaths, bringing total fatalities to 90 226 to date.  

South Africa is now in the throes of a fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, which is spreading at an alarming rate.

At the weekend President Cyril Ramaphosa – who is fully vaccinated – announced that he had tested positive for Covid-19 and was displaying minor symptoms.

Taking precautions, the organisers of the Nuclear Technology Imbizo on Thursday said: “The decision to postpone the event was made after careful consideration and as a consequence of the current Covid-19 Omicron variant, which is increasing Covid-19 infection numbers and the uncertainty regarding its further developments”.

The theme of the Imbizo is “Promoting Global Strategic Partnership to Support the South African Nuclear Build Expansion Programme”.

The event will be centered on sharing of lessons learnt and technology’s role in shaping the future of the South African nuclear industry. This requires the input of global industry players.

The nuclear industry has always been renowned for its very stringent safety standards, which will apply at the imbizo.

The organisers of the event said they strongly believe “that now, more than ever” all necessary precautions need to be taken into consideration to avoid the transmission of Covid-19.

“As per the theme of the Imbizo, the aim of the event is to promote global strategic partnerships in order to support the South African Nuclear Build expansion programme,” said Gaopalelwe Santswere, deputy president of the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (NIASA).

The event will be organised by NIASA in partnership with the South African Young Nuclear Professionals Society, Women in Nuclear SA and Southern Africa Radiation Protection Society.

“The organisers remain excited to have active participants in the Nuclear Technology Imbizo next year and will get back with more information shortly,” said NIASA.