Easter Lockdown: SA Gov advised to ramp up restrictions

Easter Lockdown
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Easter Lockdown – The Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) has advised the government to instate a higher level of lockdown ahead of Easter Weekend to prevent a potential surge in Covid-19 infections. Chocolate Easter bunnies in Pirmasens in Germany. Photograph: Ralph Orlowski/Reuters

According to Dr Ridhwaan Suliman, a senior researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa is seeing a shift in its Covid-19 trajectory with the number of new cases increasing by 2% week-on-week since the government moved the country down to level 1. Cluster outbreaks are already being reported in the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape.

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Now, health experts and analysts are encouraging an Easter lockdown to level 1, warning that the holiday weekend will likely spur a third wave of the virus in South Africa, as people travel across provinces to spend time with family and attend mass religious gatherings.

Easter Lockdown
Image: Jeff Shepherd

Current projections for the third wave are between end-April and June but researchers at Nelson Mandela University warned that it could hit even sooner, with statistical data indicating that certain parts of the country could see a surge in infections by the end of March or early April.

Speaking to ENCA, MAC chair professor Barry Schoub said that “there is a vulnerability, a chance, a risk that we could see super spreader events with all the festivities and activities that go on over the weekend. So the advisory was for a temporary increase in restrictions over this period of time.”

Schoub confirmed that should the advice be taken by the government, a level 2 Easter lockdown would likely be instated only for the Easter weekend and perhaps a “little bit over that.”

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