Slow vaccine roll-out may derail SA’s economic recovery, says Old Mutual

Business

Johannesburg -Old Mutual yesterday warned the slow vaccination programme in the country, coupled with a third wave of Covid-19 infections and load shedding, could derail the pace of economic recovery in South Africa.

The country has vaccinated about 2.23 million of its citizens, with only 480, 000 that are fully vaccinated, which represents less than 1% of the country’s population.

Old Mutual said in an operational update fort he five months to the end May that vaccination roll-outs across the continent had been slow and according to data by Bloomberg, only eight countries have vaccinated more than 5% of their populations to date.

“Covid-19 infection rates are rising as the third wave continues to gain momentum in South Africa.

“The country has enforced adjusted level 3 lockdown restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. Uganda and Namibia have also reimposed strict lockdown measures to curb the surge in Covid-19 cases,” said Old Mutual.

The group felt the impact of the pandemic in its results after it reported a loss of R5-billion for the year to end December, hurt by the direct Covid-19 impact of R6.1 billion due to an increase in pandemic reserves, business interruption, rescue claims and negative impact of market losses in the group’s credit and private equity portfolios. However, the group said yesterday that it continued to closely monitor the impact of Covid-19 on its claims experience.

“Our claims experience is in line with expected claims levels assumed in the December pandemic reserve, set up for the anticipated impacts of Covid19 in 2021. At this stage, it is too early to determine whether additional provisions will be required at the end of the first half of 2021. The reserve will be assessed at the end of June, taking into account the possibility of further waves and other developments relating to the pandemic,” said the group.

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