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SA third Covid wave coming? Average 20% rise of cases in 20 districts

10 May 2021 7:48 AM
Tags:
Bhekisisa Health Journalism Centre
COVID third wave

The variant identified in the UK has begun community spread in SA, says Bhekisisa Health Journalism Centre director Mia Malan.

The Health Department has announced 20 districts of concern.

A district of concern means there was an average rise of 20% of cases in the last two weeks.

Mia Malan, Founding editor-in-chief - Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism

There is a district of concern in each of South Africa's provinces except for the Eastern Cape, she says.

The Health Department also announced that Free State, Gauteng, Northern Cape, and North West provinces are areas currently being monitored.

In Gauteng, some experts have predicted that we could see a third wave in about three weeks from now - although they do not all agree on this.

Mia Malan, Founding editor-in-chief - Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism

The Gauteng Health Department has said that they have observed people have become complacent and fewer people are wearing masks and that social distancing is not adhered to as much. That is a significant announcement because the only way that we can postpone a third wave or keep infections under control, before we start with vaccinations, is to adhere to those measures.

Mia Malan, Founding Editor-in-Chief - Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism

If we don't adhere then the government would have to take some action in the form of increasing lockdown levels. So either we adhere or we get the formal intervention to help us to adhere.

Mia Malan, Founding Editor-in-Chief - Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism

South Africa now has recorded four cases of the new variant identified in India - two on Gauteng and two in KZN, she says.

Those four cases were imported - they were people who had travelled from India to South Africa.

Mia Malan, Founding Editor-in-Chief - Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism

Regarding the variant identified in the United Kingdom, there are eleven cases in South Africa.

The government says these eleven cases were however not imported from the UK necessarily but were found in people in South Africa who had not travelled.

Mia Malan, Founding Editor-in-Chief - Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism

This means the community spread of this variant has begun in South Africa.

The reason the newly identified variants are cause for concern is threefold she explains.

1.\ Are they more transmissible?

2.\ Do they cause more severe disease?

3.\ Do the variants have an impact on the efficacy of vacccines?

Evidence does show the variant identified in the UK is more transmissible but we also have evidence that it does not impact the efficacy of vaccines.

Mia Malan, Founding Editor-in-Chief - Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism

Listen to the interview below:




10 May 2021 7:48 AM
Tags:
Bhekisisa Health Journalism Centre
COVID third wave

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