Stricter lockdown on the cards as COVID cases spike


lockdown

According to reports, health experts are warning that government could introduce further lockdown restrictions as the country sees a spike in COVID cases, officially entering into a third wave.

Speaking to News24, senior members of the government’s Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) said that a move to an adjusted level 3 lockdown should be considered. A considerable shortage of hospital beds in some provinces is of particular concern, with Gauteng expected to reach maximum capacity within the next two weeks.

Additional restrictions being called for and mooted include:

  • Banning unnecessary inter-provincial travel
  • Interventions around schools and holidays
  • Stronger enforcement of restrictions for restaurants

Last week, The South African Medical Association (SAMA), a not-for-profit group, which represents the interests of medical doctors in South Africa, also urged government to consider 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.

Read More | WATCH: Thousands of South Africans living with criminal records after paying lockdown fines

“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

South Africa reported 9,149 new cases on Thursday (10 June). The country has now reported a total of 1,722,08 cases, with the 9,149 new cases representing a 15.7% positivity rate based on tests completed. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet has also extended South Africa’s national state of disaster by another month.

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