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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

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Covid-19 round-up: A number of SA provinces grappling with third wave

Published May 24, 2021


South African provinces including Gauteng, the Free State and the Northern Cape are currently grappling with the impact of a third wave of Covid-19 infections.

Nationally, it is predicted that the third wave will not be as severe as the second wave, however, experts are saying that certain provinces might be harder hit than others.

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New Covid-19 cases are doubling every 10 days in Gauteng as the province is witnessing its sharpest increase. Cases have increased by more than 60% compared to a week ago.

A senior researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr Ridhwaan Suliman, said the Northern Cape was currently reporting its highest level of cases.

The outbreak is considered to be large in relation to the size of its population and remains on an upward trend.

South Africa recorded more than 4 200 new cases on Saturday, which is the highest since early February. The country’s daily positive tests are just under 10%.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said while the province has not yet entered its third wave, it is in a resurgence state as 7-day rolling averages are over the 20% mark.

Looming third wave sparks alcohol ban debate

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With the infection rate peaking across the country, several organisations have called for a limit on availability of liquor in the country during the impending third wave.

The South African Alcohol Policy Alliance (Sapaa) said it was best to act sooner rather than later and that the government should not wait until the health system became overburdened before restrictions were introduced.

The alliance has called for a number of measures to be introduced to stem a third wave of Covid-19 infections:

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These include temporarily imposing zero breath- and blood-concentration levels for drivers, banning all alcohol advertising and special offers, and prohibiting alcohol-fuelled party events.

Meanwhile, the National Liquor Traders Council (NLTC) have called for a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss the possible restrictions.

The council said if there are to be any restrictions, they should be clearly explained and have a clear end date.

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Second dose of Pfizer vaccine may be delayed by up to 3 months

South Africans may only be able to get their second Pfizer vaccine three months after their first shot.

The second dose was originally planned to be delivered three weeks after the first.

South African citizens aged 60 and older started receiving the two-shot Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine last week Monday as government launched phase 2 of the national vaccine roll-out.

So far the country has received 975 000 Pfizer doses, and will have about 1.3 million doses by the end of the month.

According to a new UK study, delaying the second dose of Pfizer's vaccine could help people produce more antibodies against the virus.

Several countries, including Britain, France, the US and Canada, have extended the interval between the first and second doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines from six weeks up to maximum of four months if vaccines are in short supply.

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