Durban – Medical teams are urging parents to rethink plans to send their children to matric year-end parties.
The Gauteng General Practitioners Collaboration said it empathised with parents who wanted their children to have a normal end-of-year experience, however, letting them attend large year-end gathering was neither sensible nor responsible.
"A fourth wave is strongly predicted for November, with a new and more dangerous or more contagious variant being a possibility," the GGPC said.
In an open letter to school principals, the GGPC said it was concerned because physical distancing and safely protocols were impossible to enforce at last year's year-end events. It turned out to be a massive driver of the second wave and the start of a disastrous holiday period for all South Africans.
"We are concerned about a repeat this year. Many matriculants are still 17 until near the end of the year and won’t have time to be fully vaccinated. Just like fake IDs are common in this age group, fake vaccine passports are a genuine concern. It would take just a couple of infected revellers to cause a super-spreader event in this context."
The GGPC said a fourth wave had been strongly predicted for November with a new and more dangerous or more contagious variant being a possibility.
G&G Productions, the organisers of Ballito Rage, have put in place many measures to bulk up safety protocols for Rage which takes place from November 30 to December 5.
Chief executive Greg Walsh said only fully vaccinated students would be allowed at this year's event.
"All staff will need to be fully vaccinated too and will be tested daily before entry. Attendees will be tested on the first, third and final day of the five-day festival," he said.
GGPC said however good their intentions, it did not believe the Covid-19 safety measures suggested by the organisers could prevent the spread of the virus.
“A large gathering like this, run over a few days, and consisting of excited teens is the ideal environment for a super-spreader event – as last year’s event demonstrated."
The GGPC said that even with a “vaccine passport” and daily rapid antigen tests, it was unlikely that the spread of Covid-19 could be prevented.
"Given the low vaccination rate in South Africa, a festival event of this size poses a considerable risk of a significant and unnecessary contribution to a fourth spike. Like last year, this could have a major impact on holidaymakers around the country and a devastating effect on our already crippled economy," it said.