Politics latest news: Government rejects Sage’s advice on pre-departure tests in a ‘trade-off’ for the economy, minister reveals

a The minister said the government was “concerned” by the rapid rise in Covid cases in South Africa, where the omicron variant was first detected.

Dr. Michele Groom of South Africa’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NICD) said there had been a “massive increase” in infections over the past two weeks, from a weekly average of around 300 new cases per day to 1,000 last week, most recently 3,500. South Africa recorded a day Wednesday 8,561 cases. A week ago, the daily count was 1,275.

Asked about this, Science Minister George Freeman told Sky News: “As the Prime Minister, Minister of Health and Minister of Transport have made clear, we are concerned.

“We are taking reasonable measures to ensure that people coming from red list countries should be tested,” he added. “In those countries where the new format is on the rise, we need to be very strict and make sure we don’t bring people in.

“We’ve done it before, we’ve learned a lot over the past year and we’ll do it again.”

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