CAPE TOWN -
While countries like Spain, Italy, South Korea and the United States have all experienced a second wave of the coronavirus, South Africa is now on full alert for a resurgence.
The South Korean government effectively flattened the curve without drastic measures of business closures or restriction of movements by citizens. Using three principles - detection, containment, treatment - and quick response, they were able to mobilise the spread of the virus.
“Detection saw the country create hundreds of innovative screening facilities and clinics, and the inclusion of the private sector ensured there was never a shortage of testing kits,” read a statement by the Department of Health’s official Covid-19 portal.
“Containment ensured all individuals who tested positive were properly isolated and quarantine facilities adequately equipped.
“Treatment saw the health system effectively manage and contain the spread while ensuring all patients were given the necessary attention and treatment.”
The spread of the coronavirus was minimised with the country reporting just over 11 000 cases in June 2020.
Meanwhile, the increase in the infection rate for the second wave was attributed to the reopening of nightclubs, easing of travel restrictions and heavily crowded venues.
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United States of America
With over 9 million recorded cases and over 200 000 deaths, the United States has been one of the worst affected.
The management of the pandemic has been divided with some states implementing stricter measures.
“The USA is not actually experiencing a second wave as the number of cases in the USA simply plateaued but never actually reclined successfully enough for the first wave to be considered as over.
“The surge in cases could be seen as more of a surge in new infection rather than as a result of frequent testing,” read the statement.
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The Spanish government imposed a national lockdown as cases rose extremely quickly since their first Covid-19 case in January.
Due to the lack of resources within their health facilities and understanding of the severity of the virus by the public, Spain’s infection rate and death numbers rose rapidly.
Once the country had curbed the spread and life somewhat returned back to normal, cases surged again with over 3 000 infections recorded daily.
“Despite the rise in infection, the characteristics of the spread of the virus have been different this time around as the severity of the symptoms has been significantly lower in this wave due to the part of the population that was affected.
“This also allows for the Spanish government to effectively manage and control the rate of spread and ensure the adequate availability of the necessary resources.”
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While South Africa’s first case was only reported in March, it was one of the quickest countries to respond and implement national lockdown to ensure the safety of everyone.
With infection numbers decreasing, the country used a phased and staged method for the easing of lockdown restrictions in order for the economy to find their feet and to allow citizens to return back to work.
Local travel restrictions eventually eased and International borders were reopened, however, there are now concerns of a second wave with the government on full alert to ensure the necessary precautions are in place.
One of the measures taken by the government has been the creation of a smartphone application that allows for the geolocation of Covid-19 clusters and also informs an individual if they have come into contact with an individual who has tested positive.
“Another contingency plan in effect is the extension of the State of Disaster to allow sufficient time for all health facilities and infrastructure to be adequately prepared should a second wave happen.
“The continued curfew and closure of social gathering spots such as nightclubs and public events also minimises the spread of infection as far as possible.”