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Ramaphosa eases restrictions, but Deltacron wave will hit in April/May

President Cyril Ramaphosa has the announced lifting of regulations including mask-wearing outdoors. Experts, however, warn of a Deltacron-driven fifth wave. REUTERS/Nicholas Pfosi.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has the announced lifting of regulations including mask-wearing outdoors. Experts, however, warn of a Deltacron-driven fifth wave. REUTERS/Nicholas Pfosi.

Published Mar 22, 2022

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Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the lifting of some restrictions, yet experts have warned of a Deltacron-driven fifth wave in April/May.

In his national address on Tuesday night, the president announced the country will remain on alert level 1, but has scrapped some restrictions including that of mandatory mask-wearing outdoors and gatherings for social events.

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Despite this, the Deltacron variant has been currently driving up Covid-19 cases worldwide.

The variant, which is a mixture of the Omicron and Delta variants, has also appeared in South Africa, and experts warn of a fifth wave at the end of April/May.

In a television interview, medical expert Dr Vivek Solanki says that the Deltacron variant is expected to be highly contagious but not necessarily fatal.

“It is a mixture of the Omicron and the Delta variant, and it’s where there is one spike of the Omicron variant on the Delta variant. It is expected to be more contagious than Omicron; however, not necessarily more deadly.

“It has been spreading and is mostly in France at the moment, Denmark, Germany, Holland, the US, in Asia, and has now made an appearance in South Africa and will soon spread to the rest of Africa.”

He says that South Africa will see the fifth wave of infections around the end of April/May.

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“The fifth wave, we expect it around the end of April/May to take off really seriously. However, we should be at the side of caution and not overreact and panic. This is similar to Omicron. It’s like the flu, chances are a lot of people will catch it.

“Most people, around 95/96 (percent), would just recover the symptoms and signs of it. There will be extremely few people that might end up hospitalised, and those are the ones who are more prone to it with high comorbid conditions and high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes and auto-immune disorders,” he said.

Solanki also contends that we have reached herd immunity and immunity against Omicron that we might not need the fourth and fifth booster shots proposed by vaccine manufacturers.

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“We will have crossover protection or antibodies against Omicron from the previous exposure and people that have had their booster shots.

“Some of the American manufacturers are saying that we should take a fourth booster, fifth booster and things like that. But I already think that there’s herd immunity present, there’s Omicron immunity present, and there will be crossover protection for the people.”

Solanki says that South Africa is more prepared for the next surge of infections. He says that they do not expect a mass hospitalisation as with the Delta wave.

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The government and experts have also expressed concern over the low vaccination rates and have urged the public to vaccinate and lead healthier lifestyles.

Meanwhile, amid calls for the scrapping of the national state of disaster, the president added that the government is intending to lift it after public comments are completed.

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