Health Department says prepared for possible COVID-19 third wave

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The Health Department says it’s prepared for a possible third wave of COVID-19 in South Africa. South Africa has recorded close to 1.6 million positive cases and nearly 55 000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

People are urged to continue to wear masks, practicing social distancing and regular hand washing.

Prof Salim Abdool Karim says SA likely to experience the third wave of COVID-19 infections during winter:

Poorly ventilated areas and large crowds should also be avoided.

Health Department spokesperson Popo Maja says people should avoid situations where they could get infected with COVID-19 and require hospitalisation.

“Yes, we are ready, let me qualify that. We are asking people to avoid a situation where they would need hospitalisation, where they would need oxygen or there would be a need for field hospitals. That prevention is up to us; we can do it by asking that we don’t engage in careless interactions. We do have the equipment; we do have PPE but that is not what we want. People can help us by making sure that they don’t get sick.”

Concern for rural communities

Last week, COSATU raised concerns over the impact of a potential third wave on rural communities.

COSATU Provincial Secretary Kopano Konopi said there is a need for government to speed up the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

“We understand that there is a challenge from national government in terms of providing sufficient vaccine doses to the North West but we still believe that if the province can demand a higher portion, it can be delivered. There are many rural areas that are not going to get vaccines on time and if the third wave comes it will be devastating for the province.”

Growing concerns of a possible third wave:

Concern for Gauteng

Last week alone, the number of COVID-19 cases in Gauteng doubled. The Gauteng COVID-19 Command Council says while this is worrying, the increases have not yet reached the threshold to be considered a third wave.

Gauteng ready to respond to looming COVID-19 third wave:

Latest SA COVID-19 stats: