Fourth wave could hit Gauteng as early as next month
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Johannesburg – A fourth wave of Covid-19 might hit Gauteng as early as next month due to possible super-spreader events taking place, the Gauteng Provincial Command Council has warned.
The council, along with Premier David Makhura and Gauteng Health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi, conducted an oversight visit of the vaccination site at the Itireleng Community Healthcare Centre in Soweto, on Monday.
They gave an update on the province’s Comprehensive Health Response and Covid-19 Vaccination Programme.
Member of the Premier’s Advisory Committee on Covid-19, Professor Bruce Mellado said the province was stabilising around 1000 active cases per day, compared to 2000 and 3000 cases during the second and third waves.
“In terms of the official recorded mortality rate, the numbers are steadily dropping and they are at a lower level and can be compared to the beginning of the pandemic somewhere before the beginning of the first wave,” Mellado said.
He said the province was past the third wave in all Gauteng districts and was now in the low-risk region.
“While the situation in the Gauteng province remains stable and low-risk, however, the risk for a fourth wave is very high.
’’We predict that the fourth wave is very likely to be triggered sometime between November and January as we expect a number of super-spreader events in a row,” Mellado said.
Makhura said the the province was worried about a possible fourth wave as the local elections approached and with the relaxation of lockdown regulations.
“The possibility for more infections happening is high but if we had more vaccinations, we wouldn’t be as worried,” Makhura said.
Mellado said residents must not be misled by the fact that Gauteng was currently in a low-risk situation as that can change.
“It is now extremely important to increase the rate of vaccination especially in the age groups that are more vulnerable to contract severe disease. We have to accelerate the rate of vaccination in view of the looming fourth wave,” the professor said.
Makhura said there were at least 1.1 million people in Johannesburg who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
“We still have a long distance to cover but the idea that we have 1.1 million people vaccinated in Johannesburg is a very good picture of progress,” he said.
Makhura, however, said that Gauteng townships were lagging behind as most substantial vaccinations were happening in more suburban areas.
“Those townships in the south are Orange Farm and Palestine and we have the lowest vaccinations in the south of Johannesburg, and there is an 11% vaccination rate in terms of just single doses,” the premier said.
He was also worried that there were a million people in Gauteng who had taken their first doses but not gone back for their second doses.
Makhura appealed to people who had their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine to go for their second jab.