Case numbers in Vaal approaching COVID-19 third wave threshold: Experts

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The number of new COVID-19 cases is increasing at an alarming rate in Emfuleni on the Vaal. Health experts are worried that case numbers are approaching the third-wave threshold.

Non-adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols, family and religious gatherings are some of the reasons for the spike.

Scores of residents formed long snaking queues outside the Mafatsane Thusong Service Centre in Sebokeng.

Some came to receive the now discontinued R350 social relief grant from the Post Office.

Others wanted access to Home Affairs. Some brazenly defyed the law by not wearing face masks.

“I don’t believe there’s such a thing called coronavirus. I have not seen someone who has died of coronavirus. People die of natural causes it is not coronavirus,” says one resident.

“Mina on my side, there’s nothing like COVID-19. There’s no such…there is no such,” adds another resident.

A similar situation played out at the Sebokeng Post Office. People huddled together outside while waiting to be let in.

The Gauteng COVID-19 Command Council says the Emfuleni region, which includes areas like Sebokeng, Sharpeville, Evaton, Vereeniging and Vanderbijlpark has seen a spike in the in the number of new COVID-19 cases during the last three weeks.

Council Chairperson Dr Mary Kawonga says it’s a worrying trend.

“It has been a sustained increase in Emfuleni. The numbers in that area are approaching the third-wave threshhold. So that’s a concern. We have identified that people have relaxed their adherence to NPI’s and this has been seen in places of entertainment. We have seen that in some schools where they have sporting events we have seen clusters of cases showing up in schools, clusters of cases showing up in workplaces. Also in families, clusters of cases have been identified. In Sedibeng there was a big cluster identified in Vereeniging”

Community leader Themba Mnisi says government is equally to blame for the current situation.

“The government if they care about the poor, they were supposed to give people masks everywhere they go for free. Because really they don’t have money to buy masks. People lost their jobs, people are not working. Now how can you expect the poorest of the poor to have masks always where they going. People are uncontrollable because they don’t have food, they don’t have something to put on the table, our people are suffering.”

Public Health medicine specialist Dr Harsha Somaroo also weighed in .

“With a cold, harsh winter forecast for Gauteng and a possible third wave, experts believe prevention is better than cure. And have urged increased social distancing and the mandatory use of face masks. ”

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