Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA).
Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA).

SA’s Covid-19 hotspots show increase in infections, spurring concerns over second wave

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Oct 27, 2020

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Durban – In the last four days, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, three of the country’s Covid-19 hotspots have shown a spike in new cases leading warnings of a possible second wave.

The Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape are showing a noted increase in new cases on a daily basis.

In the last four days, the Western Cape showed an increase of 704 cases while in KZN, 372 new cases were detected and Eastern Cape reported almost 1 000 new cases.

KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala warned during his weekly Covid-19 provincial update on Sunday a second wave would be stronger and could deal another major blow to the country's economy.

"Looking at the statistics around us, we can now safely say that we are definitely going back into a hard lockdown if there is no urgent and drastic change in behaviour," he said.

South Africa's leading epidemiologist and infectious diseases specialist, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, has expressed deep concern about a second wave of new Covid-19 infections in the country.

"It seems that the second wave occurs a few months after the first wave. And when it occurs, it might be related to people becoming complacent in their adherence to prevention interventions. It might also be that people who were infected the first time have waning immunity and then a few months later, they are susceptible again, that might be contributing," Karim said in a Q & A session with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

He added while he did not know the reasons, he believed that second waves were largely due to complacency and the releasing of restrictions which created conditions for a second wave.

"Looking at second waves in Spain, Israel and South Korea, amongst others, we see that each country had different reasons for a second wave but they are mostly related to easing restrictions or allowing mass gatherings. These potential ways that a second wave can start, will need to be kept in check. That's part of the new normal," he said.

Karim said people were also tired of wearing masks and social distancing. Karim said he was optimistic SA could reach a stage where people were able to live with the virus, resulting in low-level transmissions of between 1 000 and 2 000, or below, a day.

"We have a situation where taverns and nightclubs are becoming a source of the virus spreading, and if that happens then we are in for it. It makes it inevitable that we will have a second wave," he said.

According to the latest stats from the Health Ministry, SA's cumulative Covid-19 caseload stands at 716 759 with 19 008 deaths with a 90% recovery rate.


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