Christelle du Toit
3 minute read
9 Dec 2020
7:40 pm

WATCH: SA catches Covid-19 second wave with 6 079 cases in 24 hours

Christelle du Toit

Mkhize said the four provinces that were key drivers of this new wave were the Eastern Cape, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Gauteng.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, 9 March 2020. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Wednesday night the country has entered the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

The minister said 6 079 covid-19 cases were reported in the last 24 hours, with superspreader events playing a key role in this.

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“If this trajectory continues our healthcare will be overwhelmed by these numbers,” said Mkhize.

Mkhize tweeted that a number of provinces were showing worrying trends.

“The age distribution has also shown a different pattern from the norm. The age group 15-19 years showed the highest number of cases over the past two days.”

He said the four provinces that were key drivers of this new wave were the Eastern Cape, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Gauteng.

The minister said premiers of affected provinces had been informed to prepare themselves for a second wave and address hospital capacity challenges including re-activating field hospitals.

“As we are moving around in the various provinces we are seeing that the pressure has already built up in various provinces,” he noted.

On Wednesday, Mkhize visited the Eastern Cape where the Nelson Mandela Metro has been declared a Covid-19 hotspot.

Mkhize issued a warning ahead of the festive season that irresponsible celebrations and gatherings would not be tolerated.

“If our enjoyment is going to lead to more people getting sick and being admitted to hospital and even login lives, then that is not a responsible way,” he noted.

Watch the video of the announcement here:

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said that compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions remains vital in reducing transmission and preventing significant resurges. It’s uncertain when the vaccine will be available in South Africa.

“It is difficult to determine why the Eastern Cape Province has experienced such an early resurgence, but non-compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions is a key factor. Super-spreader events, where large groups of individuals gather without observing physical distancing or wearing of masks, are obvious contributing factors. And unless the situation is contained and rapidly brought under control, our hospital services will not be able to cope with the influx of Covid-19 patients, let alone any other emergencies,” the NICD said.

“It is absolutely critical for the public to comply with the non-pharmaceutical interventions and that they adopt simple behavioural change as prescribed by the National Department of Health. This includes the proper wearing masks when in contact with other individuals (masks should cover both the nose and mouth), and maintaining a physical distance of at least 1.5 m.

“If possible, activities should take place outdoors or in well-ventilated areas/rooms with open windows and doors, as proper ventilation plays an important role in reducing transmission. Large crowds congregating in confined spaces with poor ventilation, a common occurrence in social gatherings amongst the youth, leads to super-spreader events with a lot of potential transmissions,” it added.

“It is understandable that many individuals are tired of wearing masks and some are oblivious to its importance, especially in the context of asymptomatic infections and the spread to those most vulnerable. Covid-19 pneumonia can be life-threatening and there is no specific treatment.

“All members of society can prevent and minimise transmission by adhering to the regulations. Those who have tested positive or have been exposed to positive cases, have to comply with self-isolation and quarantine protocols as efficiently as they can,” the NICD concluded.

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