President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation to provide an update on South Africa’s risk adjusted strategy to fight Covid-19. Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation to provide an update on South Africa’s risk adjusted strategy to fight Covid-19. Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

As SA steams towards 1m Covid-19 cases, young people at centre of resurgence

By Chris Ndaliso Time of article published Dec 15, 2020

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Durban - THE cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa is 866 127, and the country is getting very close to 900 000 and will soon hit a million, President Cyril Ramaphosa warned last night.

Ramaphosa was addressing the nation on the increase in coronavirus cases.

He said in just 11 days since he last addressed the nation, he reported on the signs of a resurgence of coronavirus in various parts of the country.

He said over 4400 new cases of infections were recorded.

Ramaphosa said these figures were a cause for great concern.

“Yesterday the 13th of December we recorded nearly 8000 new cases of Corona. There can no longer be any doubt that South Africa has entered the second wave of coronavirus we have been talking about. Even the rate at which new cases have grown over the last two weeks, there’s every possibility that if we do not act urgently and if we do not act together, a second wave will be even more severe than the first wave. The daily average new cases nationally over the last seven days is 74% higher than the previous seven days. In this time the number of new cases has increased from a daily average of around 3 800 to just over 6600 a day. The daily average of Covid-19 deaths has increased by nearly 50% over the same period from just over 100 deaths a day to just over 150 deaths,” he said.

Four provinces, the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng are leading the second wave of Covid-19 cases.

Ramaphosa said for the first time in this pandemic most of the new infections were among young people, particularly those in the age group of 15-19 years. “There are probably many reasons for this massive spike in infections but some key contributors are now becoming clear to us,” he said.

“Gatherings, especially social gatherings and parties are the largest source of outbreaks. In many of these gatherings, parties as I call them, social distancing is not being observed. Venues are often overcrowded and they are often not adequately ventilated, hand sanitisers are not readily available and people are not wearing masks. Many people consume alcoholic drinks at these super spreader events. As a result people become less careful about taking measures to protect themselves and to prevent infection. The recent post matric Rage festival that took place in Ballito in KZN is a harsh reminder of how dangerous these large gatherings can be. We now know that nearly 1000 young people from Gauteng who attended the event have tested positive for the coronavirus. What we don't know yet is how many more people each of them has infected. It is said that up to 300 families could in turn be infected just from this one event,” Ramaphosa said.

He said during Easter, the country was able to decrease the number of infections because rules were adhered to.

Sara Bartman, and the Garden Route Districts were declared hot spots by cabinet and with immediate effect from midnight the same restrictions imposed at Nelson Mandela Bay Metro will be enforced.

Cabinet has decided that further restrictions have to be imposed nationwide with immediate effect from midnight. Drivers of all transportation must ensure that all the passengers wear masks. Managers and owners of establishments must ensure that all those who access their establishments must wear a mask, this includes employers.

“All post funeral gatherings, the so-called after tears are prohibited. We agreed to adopt a differentiated approach that takes into account the different circumstances of the different areas of our nation. In KZN, beaches and parks will be closed to the public on the 16th, 25th, 26th, 31st of December, 1st, 2nd and 3rd of January. Curfews will be extended to between 11pm and 4am. The hours of curfew will be observed during Christmas. Alcohol sale will only be permitted from 10am to 6pm from Monday to Thursday. Alcohol consumption on beaches and parks is strictly prohibited,” Ramaphosa said.

Over 38 000 public health workers have tested positive of which 391 have died. Ramaphosa urged people to keep festive celebrations small and stay away from crowds, adding that South Africa will receive initial vaccines to cover 10 percent of the population next year.

Daily News

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