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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

No need to panic as SA sees resurgence in Covid-19 cases and positivity rate – Prof Shabir Madhi

According to the NICD, there have been 2,846 new positively identified cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours.

South Africa has recorded a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases and the positivity rate, the highest in three months.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), there have been 2,846 new positively identified cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours.

The increase represent a 13.4% positivity rate.

The Department of Health has reported 16 deaths, 8 of which were in the past 24 to 48 hours.

This brings the total fatalities to 100,211 to date.

Speaking to The Citizen, Professor of vaccinology Shabir Madhi said the increase in the positivity rate should be interpreted with caution especially when trying to make comparisons with the past.

Professor Madhi said there are two reasons contributing to the increase in the positivity rate.

“The first is that there is there beginning of a resurgence and that is a possibility due to the BA4, BA5 variant which has recently evolved in South Africa, its sorts of a sub-linage of the parent Omicron variant.

“The other issue that we face now is that we’ve become much more selective in who is being tested. So, the more selective you become in whose being tested, the more likely your positivity rate is going to increase quicker. So, it does tell that we are not doing to much testing.”

However, Professor Madhi said there is no reason to panic.

“This resurgence is completely anticipated. Based on the previous wave, every three to four months we’ve had another resurgence, but the key issue is whether there’s going to be a substantial increase in the number of people that end up in the hospital and they die of Covid and that is extremely unlikely to materialise with the BA4 and BA5 variant.”

“We expect vaccines and past infections due to immunity to work as well against this in protecting against severed disease and death than it did against Omicron,” Professor Madhi said.

Professor Madhi said President Cyril Ramaphosa also made a good move in lifting the Covid-19 national state of disaster, adding that it was long overdue and he should have lifted it way before.

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