COVID-19 Delta variant cases continue to increase in Limpopo

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Limpopo Health MEC, Doctor Phophi Ramathuba says the government never downplayed the existence of COVID-19 Delta variant from the time it was first detected in Gauteng.

Ramathuba says cases of the variant have been increasing in the province, especially in the Makhado Local Municipality.

“I don’t think as government we ever downplayed the Delta variant. We have always been calling upon our people to remain vigilant, even when this delta variant was detected for the first time in Gauteng.  Government went out and communicated with the public that we have got the case of Delta variant before it became and dominate variant and responsible for the current spikes that we have seen even in our province Limpopo,” says Ramathuba.

Video | Unpacking COVID-19 Delta variant with Dr. Richard Lessells

Ramathuba and Home Affairs Minister, Doctor Aaron Motsoaledi, were on a drive to encourage vaccination in Mafefe in the Sekhukhune municipality.

Some Mafefe residents say reckless behaviour is spreading COVID-19 in communities.

However, some say they are reluctant to vaccinate and fear side effects.

“We have realised that some elderly people experience complications and some died after vaccinating, so we thought it’s because of the jab (vaccination) and we are afraid to vaccinate.”

Motsoaledi allayed the fears of community members over vaccines and insists that they save lives.

“Some of the diseases are gone now like smallpox is no longer there. It used to kill people in large numbers perhaps in the same way as COVID is doing if not more, but because of vaccination the diseases are gone, so vaccination changes lives.”

Ramathuba also says the number of elderly people testing positive for COVID-19 in the past few weeks has decreased.

She adds that the first dose of vaccine given to those aged over 60 might have played a role in reducing the numbers.

“We have noted that the above sixty, we are not seeing so many of those testing positive this time around. We are seeing those who are below sixty being the one that are driving the numbers in the province, and that simply probably can be interpreted as the fact that we had started since the 17th of May vaccinating the above sixty.”

The Health Department hopes to complete vaccinating the remaining 12 000 teachers this week. So far 46 000 teachers have been vaccinated in the province.