The fifth wave of Covid, which is expected to be less severe, is sure to hit the SAs, and experts say it is important to increase vaccine adoption before the Easter holidays to ensure that those infected do not get seriously ill.
This comes after China announced a lockdown in the northeastern Chinese city of Changchun, with a population of nine million, as Covid cases continue to rise. However, health experts assured South Africans that there was no need to panic as the blockade would not really affect SA. They remained optimistic that the worst was over.
“I am, however, concerned about what will happen after the Easter break, especially as people go to different congregations,” said Dr. Angelique Coetzee of the South African Medical Association.
“I would like to urge them to wear masks and practice social distancing and, if you are not vaccinated, please don’t go.
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“So it’s extremely important to see what happens after the Easter holidays.”
As of Tuesday, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported that at least 581 new cases of Covid have been identified in the country with a positive rate of 4.5%. This brings the cumulative count of Covid cases to around 3.7 million since the outbreak of the virus two years ago.
“Most of the new cases today come from Gauteng (275), followed by Western Cape (118),” the NICD said.
“KwaZulu-Natal numbered 109, Free State 16, Mpumalanga 16, North West 15, Eastern Cape 11 and Northern Cape 14.
“Limpopo accounted for 1% (7) of the new cases.”
However, the National Department of Health’s vaccination schedule continues, with a total of 74,246 vaccines administered in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of vaccines administered to over 33.4 million.
Professor Glenda Davison, head of the biomedical sciences department at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, said that as China is experiencing a huge increase in infections, dominated by a sub-variant of the omcron called BA-2, it is not surprising that there is been an increase in infections.
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“This variant has been seen in South Africa and although our infection rate is low, most of what we are seeing is BA2,” he said.
“It seems that this variant is not as serious as the previous ones. In SA, we can expect a fifth wave as we approach winter and it could very well be dominated by this variant, “she said.
“It is so important for us to increase our vaccination rates to ensure that those who are infected have very mild disease.”