The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says it continues to observe a sustained increase in the number of laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases in South Africa.
NICD acting executive director Professor Adrian Puren said the percentage of South Africans testing positive for Covid-19 daily had been steadily increasing. This reached 12.7% on Wednesday nationally.
“This means that the seven-day moving average of case incidence has reached 30% of the previous peak [second wave] in these provinces. We are also seeing sustained increases in case incidence in some districts in other provinces,” Puren said in a statement.
As of Wednesday, the total number of detected Covid-19 cases in SA stood at 1,675,013 with 5,782 new cases recorded.
And 110 Covid related deaths were reported, bringing the total number of related deaths to 56,711.
Although the country is not yet in the grips of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government this week placed the country on alert level 2 lockdown in anticipation. Under the adjusted restrictions, the national curfew will now start from 11pm to 4am with businesses required to close by 10pm.
The Free State, Northern Cape, North West and Gauteng provinces have reached the threshold for a third of infections.
The NICD said as the pandemic continues into its second year, it is easy for citizens to become tired of the lockdown restrictions on their lives and social interactions. However, it said it was very important for the public to remain vigilant at this time.
President Cyril Ramaphosa warned it was only a matter of time before the whole country entered the third wave. He said the recent surge in new Covid infections was due to the increasing number of social gatherings where people are not observing health and safety protocols.
“According to the scientists who advise the government, the severity of this third wave will largely be determined by the amount of contact each of us has with other people. This means that each of us needs to think about all the people we come into contact with each day and do everything we can to limit those contacts,” Ramaphosa said.
The government and the NICD encouraged South Africans to continue wearing masks, social distancing, ensuring adequate ventilation and limiting the number of people who attend gatherings.