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SA and Gauteng are not in the fifth wave yet, says Department of Health

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla and Gauteng Department of Health officials provided insight into the increasing number of cases in Gauteng. Image:Timothy Bernard African News Agency (ANA)

Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla and Gauteng Department of Health officials provided insight into the increasing number of cases in Gauteng. Image:Timothy Bernard African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 10, 2022

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South Africa and Gauteng are not yet in the fifth wave of Covid-19, says the National Department of Health.

For almost three weeks, South Africa has seen a steady rise in the number of reported Covid-19 cases, particularly in the Gauteng province which has contributed to about 50% of reported daily cases.

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Yesterday the Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla and Gauteng Department of Health officials provided insight into the increasing number of cases in Gauteng and the province’s readiness for an approaching fifth wave of infections.

“We know now that this is driven by a sub-variant of Omicron. Our genomic surveillance team, led by Professor Tulio de Oliveira, has not said to us that this is a definite new variant except there are mutations in Omicron. In their view, the spike is driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 variants of Omicron,” the minister said.

Phaahla added that the various social and religious gatherings during the recent long weekends have also contributed to the spike.

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“As to whether this has reached a stage where we can define it as a fifth wave, our specialists said they need to look at it further. The spike hasn’t been as rapid as the fourth wave,” he said.

The minister said the general picture the department is getting is that until proven otherwise, there are no major differences in behaviour and there isn’t pressure in the severity of the cases in terms of admissions and critical patients.

In terms of readiness for another wave, Phaahla said that from the fourth wave there was agreement that each provincial department must keep a level of readiness because the world is not yet out of the pandemic.

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“We are still not technically in the fifth wave but this week will also indicate a clear picture but so far it looks as if there is no major change and we will plateau at about 10 000 cases,” the minister said.

Gauteng Health Head of Department Dr Nomonde Nolutshungu said the department was not happy about the uptake of vaccinations in the province but added that the department is intensifying mobilisation for vaccine uptake.

“Given that we are down two years with Covid and it’s not clear when this will end, we are working on integrating vaccine sites into the vaccination infrastructure we have in the province so there is efficient utilisation of our infrastructure for vaccination,” Nolutshungu said.

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She added that the department is trying to get ahead of the curve of the virus through vaccination and the department will target the areas where the penetration of the vaccines are low.

@Chulu_M

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Related Topics:

5th Wave

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