News / Covid-19

Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
22 Nov 2021
11:15 am

‘We want to avoid severe lockdowns’, says Phaahla as Covid-19 fourth wave looms

Citizen Reporter

Health Minister says his department would advise government against imposing a harder lockdown.

Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla. Picture: Gallo Images/Sydney Seshibedi

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla says his department hopes to avoid to stricter lockdown level as a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections looms.

This as the country continues to observe a steady rise in Covid-19 infections.

Fourth wave

Speaking to eNCA on Sunday, Phaahla revealed that the Department of Health would advise government against imposing a harder lockdown.

“Well we would want to avoid severe lockdowns […] we are studying the developments everyday.

“We want to do as much as we can in terms of social restrictions to avoid super spreading, but without taking away too much from the liberties of people socially and economically. So we will advise accordingly,” he said.

Health experts have predicted that a fourth resurgence would only be seen in South Africa at the end of the year, as the risk remained very high amid a low uptake in vaccinations.

ALSO READ: Early signs of Covid fourth wave in lead up to the festive season

Now, with the festive season approaching, social gatherings – including events – during this time may be potential super spreaders.

Up to 2,000 people are permitted at outdoor venues and 750 for indoor gatherings under adjusted level 1 lockdown.

It is expected that the Covid-19 fourth wave is likely to peak lower than the previous and cases may start rising towards the end of December.

Vaccine certificates

Commenting on South Africa’s vaccine certificates, Phaahla clarified that the certificates were for local use only.

The Minister indicated that government is currently working to have the certificates recognised internationally.

“We did say that by the end of November we will have been able to improve the certificate to such an extend that we will able to convince most countries that they should recognise our certificates,” Phaahla added.

Government started rolling out its Covid-19 vaccine certificate system in October.

Citizens are eligible to receive a digital vaccine certificate containing a QR code if fully vaccinated. The code can be either downloaded or printed.

READ MORE: High-profile breakthrough cases trigger vaccine misinformation

As of 21 November, just over 24 million vaccines have been administered across the country as government aims to vaccinate 70% of the country’s population by the end of the year.

13 million South Africans are fully vaccinated

Meanwhile, the total number of detected Covid-19 cases currently stands at 2,929,862, with 687 new cases identified over the last 24-hour period.

This represents a 3.4% positivity rate. 

An additional two Covid-related deaths were reported, bringing the total number of deaths to 89,574.