Renowned epidemiologist, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, says the implementation of level four lockdown assisted the country in lowering the number of new coronavirus cases, while keeping the economy active.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has moved the country to Alert Level 3 as South Africa passes the peak of the third wave.

Another 5 683 cases have been recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s total number of reported infections to 2 383 490.

Over 70 000 people have died in South Africa since the start of the pandemic. Karim says constant adjustment of the lockdown levels is the best way to handle the pandemic.

“We have to continually adjust it. I think doing so in two to three-week intervals is reasonable and I don’t think there is much to be gained by making very small tweaks. I think the tweaks we have made between level 4 and 3 is about right because it still protects us from super-spreading events but it allows businesses to operate, allows travel for leisure because we can afford that at this time,” he says.

Prof Salim Abdool Karim reacts to easing of COVID-19 restrictions:

Vaccine efforts

Karim has also expressed optimism over global vaccination efforts, saying the jabs are proving beneficial in preventing severe disease and death.

South Africa has inoculated over 6.3 million people in its vaccination drive so far.

arim says vaccine development is going to improve in future.

“The vaccines are not necessarily doing that good a job in preventing infection but they are doing a superb job in preventing severe disease and death and so there is a real benefit to these vaccines and we are going to do better with time, vaccines are going to get better, we are going to see a situation where eventually we will have much better vaccines to even prevent mild infections,” he adds.

Latest COVID-19 stats below: