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S/Africa: Third wave feared as over 3,000 Covid-19 cases recorded

Over 3,000 new coronavirus infections have been recorded in a single day for the first time in three months in…

Over 3,000 new coronavirus infections have been recorded in a single day for the first time in three months in South Africa, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Friday.With 42,073 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, some 3,221 new cases were recorded — representing a 7.7% positivity rate, Mkhize said.

The figure means that the country has 1,605,252 confirmed cases and some 55,012 deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020, he added.

While the new trajectory of confirmed cases was worrisome, the country had not yet crossed the national threshold for a new wave, the minister told South Africans.

“We want to assure South Africans that we have not yet hit the third wave. However, we are at risk. We, hence, need to be on heightened vigilance as a country,” Mkhize said.

Agreed the country’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), which saw the recent rapid increase in the percentage-testing positive for Covid-19 and the seven-day moving average of confirmed cases nationally as a cause for concern.

However, NICD acting executive director Adrian Puren warned that should the rising trajectory of new cases continue its current course, South Africa would likely cross the threshold for a new wave in the coming weeks.

Puren called on South Africans to rapidly implement “meticulous” social distancing and adhere to non-pharmaceutical measures, which he said would lower the current transmissions and delay the third wave.

“And with the vaccination of elderly people scheduled to commence next week, delaying the third wave will provide more time to vaccinate those most at risk for severe diseases — and will thus save lives,” Puren added.

The country has so far vaccinated 455,169 health care workers out of a targeted 1.5 million – with the eventual goal of injecting 46 million South Africans in order to reach a herd immunity to slow down the year-old pandemic.

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