The Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize said he was extremely concerned that the latest daily number of COVID-19 infections shot up to nearly 3,000 with pockets of cluster outbreaks across the country. Total cases in South Africa have reached 757,000 now, with the Eastern Cape and Western Cape showing a spike in the number of daily infections. Mkhize however added that health officials are confident that they could still contain the cluster outbreaks in parts of the Eastern Cape, and specifically the Nelson Mandela Bay area.
“I am very concerned and I think it’s important that all South Africans be very concerned. The real issue is that the numbers should be going down and stabilising or staying steady at a lower level. And therefore, something that we did right at the beginning will probably be people taking the message seriously. At this time, it looks like complacency is coming,” Mkhize said.
Another concern for the Health Minister is the so-called super spreader events. “We are concerned by what we’ve seen as super spreader events. In the case of the Western Cape, we have identified a number of incidents. There have been parties, particularly involving students with no masks and with the use of alcohol. Those tend to explode.”
Mkhize said that the government was extremely worried about the spike in daily coronavirus infections but that no decision had yet been taken on whether to impose restrictions during the festive season. Only 5 weeks remain before Christmas and concerns are that there is a potential for a second wave of infections as people go on Holiday.
“If we are not able to contain the spread by then, you will notice that the whole area will have spread and will therefore start having us look at tighter measures. We’ve not at this point decided there’s going to be stricter lockdown measures during Christmas but it is a matter of concern. There’s be a lot of movement of people, they’re not doing any work, so they’re mingling and enjoying the festive season.”