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Third wave 'inevitable' says expert, as country moves to Level 1

1 March 2021 9:02 AM

The onset of winter and slow roll-out of the vaccine programme also likely to contribute to a third surge says expert.

Exactly two months after putting the country into adjusted level 3 lockdown due to a second wave of coronavirus infections, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that South Africa will move to lockdown Level 1.

Speaking during the most recent 'family meeting', Ramaphosa detailed the scaling back of restrictions, which include a shorter curfew period and relaxation of rules around gatherings.

While it may come as good news for businesses, Prof Alex van den Heever at the Wits School of Governance says the complacency of people will lead us to an 'inevitable' third surge.

The problem now is that behaviour might go back to what it was in October/November and we might face another surge.

Prof Alex van den Heever, Chair of Social Security Systems Administration and Management Studies - Wits School of Governance

While we've got this fairly widespread community-based transmission we are at risk, at any point of a further surge.

Prof Alex van den Heever, Chair of Social Security Systems Administration and Management Studies - Wits School of Governance

And while the restrictions on gatherings have been relaxed, van den Heever says we remain at risk of a third wave if people take part in 'superspreader' events.

I think it's quite probable that people will do that because I think a lot of people are not very cautious. They think things are ok, they are not OK.

Prof Alex van den Heever, Chair of Social Security Systems Administration and Management Studies - Wits School of Governance

The onset of the winter months is also likely to contribute to a third wave he says, particularly in light of the slow roll-out of the vaccine programme,

We are nowhere close to dealing with that problem.

Prof Alex van den Heever, Chair of Social Security Systems Administration and Management Studies - Wits School of Governance

This year we will not vaccinate enough people to reach herd immunity.

Prof Alex van den Heever, Chair of Social Security Systems Administration and Management Studies - Wits School of Governance

Van den Heever says that the current roll-out strategy, in which 6 000 people a day are receiving their inoculations, would take 20 years to vaccinate the whole country.

We have to get up to over 200 000 a day and we quite clearly very far from that.

Prof Alex van den Heever, Chair of Social Security Systems Administration and Management Studies - Wits School of Governance

He adds that 2021 is going to be a year of 'bouncing back and forth' with the Covid-19 pandemic.

LISTEN: [WATCH] President Ramaphosa announces move to Level 1 lockdown (28 Feb)

Read Ramaphosa's full speech here, click below to watch his latest address to the nation on coronavirus:




1 March 2021 9:02 AM

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