Coronavirus expected to spread as companies close for holidays: Professor Abdool Karim

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One of South Africa’s leading scientists in the fight against COVID-19, Professor Salim Abdool Karim says the virus is expected to spread as companies close for the holidays. Abdool Karim says that even the provinces that have lower cases will start to show increases.

“We are now in a situation where we have rapidly growing cases in all four big provinces. We are now in the midst of the second wave and with the travel that we are expecting on the 16th of December when the factories close, industries close all of these provinces that are on the lower end they will all start showing increases. The worrying part is that our second wave looks like in the Eastern Cape, it looks like it’s going to be worse than the first wave.”

Abdool Karim has warned that the second surge of the pandemic might be worse than the first wave. KwaZulu-Natal has been named as one of four provinces where new infections are rising rapidly.

Abdool Karim spoke at a postgraduate research symposium of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.  More than 8 000 COVID-19 new cases have been reported in the country bringing the total number of cases to 836 764 since the outbreak.

In a special briefing earlier this week, Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, said the country now meets the resurgence criteria formulated by scientists and modelling teams.

SA enters second wave of coronavirus:

However, Abdool Karim says the country has good systems in place to deal with the second wave.

“And so as we do now we just prepare and we set ourselves up. We’ve created our basis for our plans of action which we’ve approved some time ago with our ministerial advisory committee. We have good systems in place to deal with the second wave and we will depend on our strong public health surveillance and our public health response.”

Meanwhile, the KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu says the province is at risk of being slapped with tough new COVID-19 restrictions similar to Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality if communities continue to disregard COVID-19 regulations.

“We are calling on the community to make sure that they continue to adhere to the protocols they wash their hands they keep their masks they maintain proper social distancing because if that does not happen it means that the government will be forced to bring back stricter regulations then where we are now. We are currently on level one which is a bit more flexible than all the other levels we have had previously but if matters continue as they have been continuing.”

Provincial authorities have warned citizens to avoid large gatherings and continue adhering to COVID-19 regulations.