The South African Medical Association (SAMA), a not-for-profit group, which represents the interests of medical doctors in South Africa, is calling for tougher lockdown restrictions to combat “lockdown fatigue” as the third wave sets in.
Speaking to TimesLIVE, Dr Angelique Coetzee of SAMA said that it’s already getting difficult to secure hospital beds in parts of the country due to an increase in cases. The association is also concerned about the slow roll-out of vaccinations, which will undoubtedly have an impact on the severity of the third wave.
“The plan was to reach five million people in phase 2 of the rollout, but this is being hampered by the slow rollout and poor adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as possible poor ventilation that might be experienced in clinics administering the vaccine,” she said.
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SAMA also notes that many people have ‘Covid-fatigue’, especially younger people, who are not adhering to covid protocols such as wearing a mask, social distancing, and quarantine protocols when they are sick.
“We cannot be fooled into a false sense of security around Covid-19. It is still out there, and still a threat to many people,” Dr Coetzee said. “We simply have to ensure we do everything we can to curb the spread of the disease, and we have to understand that each and every person has a role to play.”
Among some of the additional lockdown restrictions SAMA is calling for include:
- Stricter evening curfew, particularly over the weekends
- More restrictions on gatherings, particularly for in-door gatherings with poor ventilation
- Particular focus on limiting taxi capacity
- Stronger enforcement of mask-wearing, social distancing and quarantine protocols
After Ramaphosa’s ‘family meeting’ on Sunday, South Africa moved to an adjusted level 2 lockdown. The updated lockdown restrictions include:
- Curfew: 23h00 to 04h00
- Non-essential establishments such as restaurants and bars to close by 22h00
- Gathering limited to 100 people indoors and 250 people outdoors
- Where a venue is too small to accommodate these people, no more than 50% of the venue capacity may be full
- Funerals remain restricted to 100 people, while after-funeral gatherings remain prohibited
- Night vigils and after-funeral gatherings are banned
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