South Africa enters second wave of COVID-19, says Health Minister Dr Zwelini Mkhize
South Africa has officially entered a second wave of the new coronavirus as the number of infections per day exceeds 6 000, Health Minister Dr Zwelini Mkhize said on Wednesday, 9 December 2020, raising concerns that restrictions to limit the spread could be tightened. Minister Mkhize said in a televised address that infections stood at over 828 000 cases with deaths at more than 22 500, the most on the continent. Daily cases peaked at around 15 000 in July 2020. ““A criteria was formulated by our scientists and modelling teams. As it stands as a country, we now meet that criteria. It is also important to highlight that four provinces, that being, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng Province are the key drivers of this new wave”, said Minister Mkhize. South Africa is experiencing a resurgence of new cases in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape. President Cyril Ramaphosa last week tightened rules in the Eastern Cape Province but stopped short of a wider crackdown.
“The positivity rate today is 18 percent, well above the ideal 10 percent that the MAC on COVID-19 recommends . You will notice from the seven day moving average graph that the increases in rapid increase in KZN and Gauteng are exponential. This means that we should expect faster rising numbers with a higher peak than in the first wave.”
“In the last two days the age distribution of new cases showed a different pattern from the norm: the peak age in this period is in the 15 to 19 age group. This is believed to be due to large number of parties involving young people drinking alcohol with no adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions ie wearing of masks, social distancing and hand and surface sanitising. This inevitably leads to super spreader events, which spill over into the rest of the country as this age group is highly mobile and the majority of the carriers are asymptomatic. If this trajectory continues our health care system will be overwhelmed by the numbers. Hence part of the recommendations that are being tabled by provinces themselves is that large gatherings and parties must be urgently curtailed.”
“We would like to indicate that, having observed the trends in the past couple of weeks, we had already sent a letter to all MEC’s urging them to prepare their respective provinces for a second wave. The key issues that we have raised are that the provinces need to ensure that testing turnaround times are as quick as possible to facilitate patient flow, assess bed capacity including recalling field hospital beds, attend to staffing and equipment needs urgently and to tighten up monitoring and evaluation and reporting to national department.”
A cumulative 5 690 263 tests have been completed, of which 38 200 have been conducted since the last report.
Previously we had indicated that the NICD had migrated to a new system for capturing tests which now also capture the antigen tests. Therefore the breakdown of the above reported tests is as follows:
Total PCR tests reported on 8 December 2020: 5 640 042
New PCR tests done on 8 December 2020: 37 103
Retrospective Ag tests: 12 021
New Ag tests done on 8 December 2020: 1 097
Total tests reported on 9 December 2020: 5 690 263
Deaths and recoveries
Regrettably, 135 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported today (9 December 2020): Eastern Cape 56, Free State 15, Gauteng 16, Kwa-Zulu Natal 7 and Western Cape 48. This brings the total to 22 574 deaths. Recoveries now stand at 754 658.
We convey our condolences to the loved ones of the departed and thank the health workers that treated the deceased patients.
Fire and Rescue International wish all our first responders a safe Festive Season. Let’s beat this virus!
Sources: National Department of Health, ENCA, SABC
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