The alcohol industry is calling on government to provide vaccine policy clarity and a legal framework for implementation. This follows an announcement made by government that a task team will be set up to make recommendations on vaccination mandates for specific activities and locations.
The South African Liquor Brand Owners Association (SALBA) has noted that the decision on vaccine mandates, like all of the Covid-19 responses implemented under the National Disaster Management Act so far, are the preserve of the government.
“We believe that South Africa can ill-afford to plunge thousands more people into unemployment by locking down the domestic economy again, at the back of the unjustified travel restrictions imposed on South Africa and neighbouring countries following the discovery of Omicron,” SALBA states.
Industry continues to support Covid-fighting actions
The association empathises vaccines have proven to provide the best protection available against the virus, in addition to the wearing of masks, sanitising and social distancing. It adds that companies and organisations within the alcohol supply and value chain continue to encourage and support the vaccination of their employees and communities around them wherever possible.
SALBA says that if the vaccine programme is not ramped up and Mzansi opts for economic restrictions, the South African economy will suffer further losses and unemployment will rise exponentially.
The industry, it adds, is committed to supporting the efforts of the public and private health sectors and to comply with all government public health measures designed to prevent, manage and treat infections of Covid- 19.
SA insect could save European citrus
Meanwhile a South African insect could hold the key to saving citrus fruits in Spain and Portugal.
A European Tropicsafe project is said to have demonstrated the usefulness of a parasitoid in reducing the spread and abundance of one of the insect vectors of HLB disease, the African psyllid Trioza erytreae.
FreshPlaza reports that the vector was first located on the European continent in Pontevedra in 2014 but the disease has not yet been detected.
Despite this, the sector makes constant efforts to find an answer against it before the first contagion occurs. In 2015, the insect was detected in the north of Portugal. Since then, it has been colonising the Portuguese Atlantic coast.
Then in 2017 it was located in the Lisbon region and the Tagus valley, where it remained until last October when it was detected in the Algarve region.
With the help of the Valencian Institute of Agrarian Research (IVIA), researchers identified that the Tamarixia dryi wasp from South Africa is an effective parasitoid against Trioza erytreae.
Later, its suitability was verified in collaboration with the Canarian Institute of Agricultural Research, and in 2019 the IVIA transferred the study to Galicia for the breeding and release of this biological control organism.
This phase included its production in the Maceda nursery and the monitoring of Tragsa and Tragsatec as commissioned by the Plant Health Service. The latest data confirms that this was the right approach.
The small South African wasp adapted to the Iberian Peninsula’s (southwestern Europe) climate and managed to decimate the transmission vector without unwanted impacts.
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