COVID-19 cases are increasing across the country again with some provinces declaring to be in the third wave of the pandemic.

However, the Eastern Cape is not the hotspot or the epicentre of the surge as was the case with the second wave when it originated in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Infections, however, are rising in the province with Nelson Mandela Bay a hotspot in the province. The metro has more than 700 active cases and the alarm bells are ringing.

Eastern Cape officials are now concerned and the sharp rise in infections among the elderly is a red flag.

This trend is emerging despite the implementation of phase two of the vaccination program, targeting the 60-plus age group.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipal spokesperson, Mamela Ndamase, says the emerging trend of rising infections is alarming.

“We have sadly noted the growing numbers of infections amongst the elderly. The old age homes are seeing infections as a result we have a mandate, the officials will be visiting various old age homes to see where the problem is as those people are isolated. We want to know what is wrong.”

The Department of Health has warned that the vaccination does not prevent possible infections. Eastern Cape Department of Health spokesperson, Sizwe Kupelo, is urging people to adhere to the COVID-19 regulations.

“I wish to emphasise that even those who have been vaccinated are expected to continue adhering. The vaccine does not mean you cannot get infected with the virus, but it guarantees that those who are vaccinated may not experience severe symptoms.”

But there is once again a level of ignorance evident in the streets. Even on social media ” Blue Ticking the Third Wave” is trending, referring to the WhatsApp phenomenon of reading but ignoring messages. Residents had this to say.

“I think that people have become ignorant, when I am at work, I see a lot of people not wearing masks, ignoring simple rules like adhering to social distancing and disregarding the hand sanitiser. It is frustrating that they don’t realise how serious this is,” says a concerned resident.

“As a taxi user, I am very concerned, because I have realised that they now use water instead of a hand sanitiser. You can smell alcohol on a real sanitiser but that one has no smell, I do not trust it. And taxis travel with different people, we are not safe,” adds another resident.

The active cases in the province are nearing the 1 000 mark.

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