Third Wave and Lockdown Looming

By Oliver Ngwenya    13-May-2021 19:13 UTC+02:00

The department of health on Wednesday released a statement in which it reported that even though the country is not technically in the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, there are figures that are of great concern and that residents would be wise to heed as warning signs. According to the statement, the number of positive cases increased by an average of 46% in all provinces with the nationwide total increasing from 8 593 to 12 531 in the week from 3 May to 9 May. In the same period, the number of deaths from the virus increased from 269 to 318, with 24 front line healthcare workers succumbing to the pandemic. The Northern Cape was reported to be leading in the number of new infections, recording a 68% increase while Gauteng was a close second with an increase of 63%.

However, despite all this, the department said it all “still shows that we have not as a country reached a resurgence threshold, though some districts in the country are fast approaching the threshold”. Furthermore, the department added that it was monitoring what it called the main drivers of infection, which it identified as “resurgence of new variants and/or the fatigue from adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions”. The statement of the department follows the one that was made by the Minister of health, Zweli Mkhize who warned, “We are in the 3rd wave. Buckle up.”

Following speculation about the country having entered the third wave, the business world has announced that it is better prepared for lockdown than it was when the first lockdown hit some fourteen months ago. The Business Leadership South Africa added that if we end up going the stricter lockdown restrictions route, the government should use evidence and results of some numerous research that had been conducted around the pandemic to guide their response. “If government goes this route, the evidence must remain the key guide to interventions,” the group said in a statement. BLSA added that research had shown that in some instances, the benefit of highly restrictive lockdowns was usually far outweighed by, for instance, homelessness and domestic violence that were usually a direct result of the lockdowns. “Similarly, alcohol sales bans have been studied and the impact on both the healthcare system and virus transmission has been questioned. Tourism and hospitality, which employ a disproportionate number of women and unskilled workers, are heavily affected by curfews, with seriously negative social effects,” they added.

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