It’s the nightmare before Christmas: Health Minister Zweli Mkhize was left with the unenviable task of telling South Africans that we’ve slipped into a second wave of coronavirus. The spike in infections was driven by huge transmission rates amongst young people, with super-spreader events and post-matric parties shouldering most of the blame.
The majority of the new infections are from the Western Cape, and that accounts for 30% of positive cases registered on Wednesday. They are followed by the Eastern Cape on 24%, with KZN (23%) and Gauteng (17%) not far behind.
Zweli Mkhize has implored the provincial leaders of South Africa to pull out all the stops in the next few weeks, and gave hospital authorities the following updates:
Looking ahead to the remainder of the festive season, Mkhize has urged South Africans to ‘show restraint’ over Christmas. Usually a time for big family gatherings and crowded events, the minister has implored citizens to enjoy themselves in a responsible manner – and the national lockdown laws may be subject to a slight amendment
The minister also revealed the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) may be called upon to establish firm restrictions on large parties and mass gatherings throughout December. Recommendations are already being tabled:
“Large parties with young people drinking alcohol and ignoring COVID-19 protocols has driven the second wave: If this trajectory continues, our healthcare systems will be overwhelmed. Hence, part of the recommendations being tabled by provinces are now looking at how to contain these large gatherings and parties. A decision will be made by the NCCC.”
“Yes, the festive season is time for us to relax and enjoy with our families, but we now need to understand that we have a responsibility to enjoy it with various restraints. If our enjoyment is going to lead to more people getting sick, getting admitted, and even losing lives, it is not a responsible way of enjoying ourselves. We must have a festive season with a difference.”