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Health MEC worried about spike in Covid-19 infections in KZN in the last week of 2021

KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Nomagugu Simelane speaking to the public about the importance of vaccinations at a drive-thru vaccination site, on Durban’s beachfront on Friday. Picture: Supplied

KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Nomagugu Simelane speaking to the public about the importance of vaccinations at a drive-thru vaccination site, on Durban’s beachfront on Friday. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 2, 2022

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KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane said the province’s rate of infections has been fluctuating and is characterised by an upwards trajectory.

Simelane was reacting to the announcement of the lifting of the curfew ahead of New Year’s Day.

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Simelane urged people not to entirely abandon the ethos and spirit of general restraint, which underpinned the curfews and other restrictions that we have had, now that the curfew has been lifted.

She said when you are faced with an abnormal situation such as the Covid-19 pandemic, it becomes crucial to adopt a “business unusual-approach and exercise restraint”.

Simelane said it would not hurt to continue observing the 12am curfew and avoiding large gatherings, even if it is no longer a legal requirement, because the end goal is for people to behave in a way that does not make the ground fertile for the spread of infection.

“So, while the relaxing of the regulations is good for the economy, let us all remember that the Omicron variant, which is currently the most dominant in the country is highly infectious.

“This means that the risk of an increase in the rate of infections is still quite high,” Simelane said.

“In fact, over the past few days, our rate of infections as a province has been fluctuating, and is characterised by an upwards trajectory that we’ve noted, which becomes quite concerning. A quick glance at our new cases since the start of this week, tells you that we can ill-afford to let down our guard.”

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Simelane said over the past week the province’s new Covid-19 infections have been:

  • 1 459 on December 26, 2021
  • 1 007 on December 27, 2021
  • 1 990 on December 28, 2021
  • 2 522 on December 29, 2021
  • 3 461 on December 30, 2021
  • 2 935 on December 31, 2021

“Furthermore, our province this week breached the 15 000 mark for the number of lives lost due to Covid-19, and registered a staggering 136 deaths in just five days which is still way, way too many lives. (This is based on the latest 15 081 – up from 14 945 that we had on Sunday, December 26, 2021),” Simelane said.

She said they supported the call that all organisers of public gatherings must ensure that all health protocols are observed at all times; and that people must get vaccinated, so that their bodies are able to fight the virus, in case they did get infected.

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Meanwhile, also on Saturday, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said the majority of new cases were from KZN and the Western Cape, which contributed 26% each.

The provinces were followed by Gauteng (17%), the Eastern Cape (12%), Free State and Mpumalanga (5% each), Limpopo, North West and the Northern Cape (3% each).

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