South Africa has reached yet another sordid milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, recording 10 008 new infections in a 24-hour cycle. This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases picked up since March to 883 687.
In a statement on Wednesday, 16 December 2020, the health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said the Western Cape had seen the most cases, recording more than 3 000 infections for the first time this week. Seven other provinces saw increases in COVID-19 cases while the Eastern Cape, which is home to two hotspot areas, saw a decline.
The COVID-19 death toll has also increased to 23 827, after an additional 166 fatalities were picked up in a single day. The health ministry has expressed condolences to the families and friends of the deceased.
There is also good news as the country has recorded 774 585 recoveries. So far, 5 968 692 tests have been conducted.
While the country will be spending the festive season under tighter lockdown restrictions, in light of the second wave of COVID-19 infections, there are questions on whether the spikes might just prompt government to impose even more measures.
Well, if what government has said is anything to go by, slapping tighter restrictions is a distinct possibility.
“We continue to assess the entire country and where we identify risks, we will engage and make a determination if further containment measures or restrictions are required,” Mkhize further said.
Undoubtedly, one of the big downsides this festive season is the fact that only a limited number of beaches in the country will be open, which means beach goers are forced to find other ways to unwind. Government has also taken note on the effect this may have on locals and has lauded South Africans who have been adhering to the regulations related to beach activity.
“We know that although this has taken away time for enjoyment from our people, it will certainly contribute to curbing the spread of the virus. Our beaches are known for overcrowding during this time and people tend to be carefree,” the minister also added.
Government has urged those who do have the privilege of enjoying the seaside, to be careful and apply the necessary health and safety measures including social distancing and wearing a face mask.