SABC News’ Luvuyo Mdeni is joined by the Principal Investigator of the South African Ox1Cov-19 Vaccine VIDA trial, Professor Shabir Madhi. In this episode, he gives an update on the trial which is under way at three sites in Gauteng.
Professor Madhi speaks at length on safety measures taken during the trial as well as when we can expect results:
South Africa reported its biggest increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases this weekend, reaching over 9 500 new infections as cases spike.
A total of 4 966 new confirmed cases were recorded on Saturday and a further 4 621 cases on Sunday, respectively, portraying a bleak picture regarding South Africa’s fight against COVID-19.
These numbers are by far the highest jump ever recorded in South Africa since the country announced its first case on the 5th of March.
To date, with about 97 302 confirmed cases, South Africa is now placed in the Top 20 nations worldwide with the highest number of confirmed cases, surpassing countries such as China with 84 572 cases to date.
‘Change of behaviour’
This massive increase earlier led the Health Minister Zweli Mkhize to issue a stern warning that the infection rate of COVID-19 is going to skyrocket further if people don’t change their behaviour to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Speaking to SABC News, Mkhize expressed that if people don’t adhere to preventative measures, the number of COVID-19 cases are going to see a sharp increase.
“We’re talking about the 97 000 today but in a few weeks we’ll be talking about several hundred thousands and that actually is because of this behaviour. What we’re seeing now, wait for two weeks you will see the impact of how the recklessness that we would have actually seen now, how it will actually translate in the numbers of more new infections that are going to be coming.”
Flatten the curve?
The latest numbers bring up questions regarding government’s efficiency to ‘flatten the curve’. During the early stages of the pandemic, Chairperson for the COVID-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee, Professor Salim Abdool highlighted that South Africa’s epidemic trajectory is unique when compared to other nations.
At the time, Karim highlighted that South Africa may have missed the worst part of the coronavirus pandemic because of the government’s swift response. However, analysis of South Africa’s cumulative confirmed cases ranging from 13-21 June, gives a bleak picture.
Cases recorded in this period (34 113) make up 35% of the total number of confirmed cumulative cases. When compared to other nations, regarding the number of confirmed cases during this period, South Africa ranks at number 11.
This massive spike over the weekend has raised alarms amongst authorities, with the health minister expressing that all the hard work done during the early stages of the pandemic needs to be maintained.
“We’ve managed it so well up to now, we need to really maintain the balance as we move into the next few weeks,” says Mkhize.
SABC News’ Luvuyo Mdeni is joined by Dr Mvuyisi Mzukwa, vice-chairperson of the South African Medical Association (SAMA).
In this episode, the similarity between flu and COVID-19 symptoms is discussed.