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It is up to each one of us to protect ourselves from the Covid-19 third wave

By Editorial Time of article published May 29, 2021

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SOUTH Africa is heading inexorably into a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The signs are already there; hospitals reporting 100% bed occupancy, medical staff being run off their feet, even if there is a determined reticence on the part of government spokespeople not to be alarmist.

Officially the number of infections is edging ever higher. We should not be surprised; the scientists warned us that this would happen as winter approached. What should alarm us is that we haven’t had far more people vaccinated. This has not happened for a variety of reasons: There has been confusion, we’ve had technical glitches, stocks of vaccines have run out and many vaccine centres aren’t even operating at weekends when most people are already at home.

We could forgive much, as we did many of the bureaucratic excesses and over-reach during last year’s draconian lockdowns but unfortunately there’s an all-pervading, typically South African, trifecta to all this: lack of real political will, a tolerance for incompetence and, yet again, allegations of gross wastage of state funds.

This week there were revelations of millions of rands spent on a communications project by people associated with Health Minister Zweli Mhkize, when his own department was more than competent to do the job and indeed there has been a group of patriotic volunteers in civil society doing their own initiative for government for free.

The outlook of a speedy resolution to any of this is dire. We saw this with the umpteenth U-turn and dithering damage control that followed on Gauteng’s loathed e-tolls this week

Instead as the third wave crests above us all we can do is wear our masks, sanitise and keep our distances. If the government can’t bring itself to impose a stricter lockdown, it’s incumbent upon us to do it ourselves.

Take care out there.

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