The Chairperson of government’s Advisory Committee on COVID-19, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, has urged the public to keep calm in the face of the rising number of coronavirus cases across the country.

Speaking at a media briefing on Friday, he said while the spread of new infections has started to slow down, efforts to contain the virus will have to continue for months and even years to come.

Karim said the number of infections is expected to rise as the country moves to lockdown Level 3 and warned that there is no room for complacency.

“We knew that as the lockdown comes to an end that we should expect a rise in cases and we should expect outbreaks. We are already seeing those outbreaks whether it’s at the Albany bakery or whether it’s at Joburg’s Mediclinic. Just these last few days we saw an outbreak in one of the mines. This is how the virus spreads, it is not a reason to panic, it’s not a reason to shut everything down,” says Karim.

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Karim says South Africa is among the countries least severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

He says South Africa has managed to flatten the curve of new infections, but that efforts will have to continue in the long term.

“There is little question that our epidemic curve – if it followed the inflection curve and continued on its exponential growth, we would have seen a curve something like what we see in the United Kingdom which has a similar population size to South Africa. Instead, our curve has been flattened, however, if we do not ensure that we continue using our prevention toolbox that line could very easily rise rapidly,” says Karim.

The confirmed number of coronavirus infections stands at 29 240 as of Friday night.

The country has recorded 1 837 new infections.

In this video, Prof Karim discusses various issues on COVID-19 in South Africa