Siyanda Ndlovu
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
19 Mar 2021
3:19 pm

No plans for tighter restrictions to prevent Easter infection surge

Siyanda Ndlovu

Scientists from the provincial premier’s advisory committee say that their Covid-19 risk index shows a high possibility of a resurgence in the coming months.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura. Picture: GCIS

Gauteng Premier David Mkahura has given assurance that the government is not planning to tighten Covid-19 protocols to prevent a third wave during and after the Easter holidays.

Makhura on Friday addressed a briefing on Covid-19 status.

In a presentation, scientists from the provincial premier’s advisory committee said that their Covid-19 risk index shows a high possibility of a resurgence in the coming months.

The advisory committee’s Dr Mary Kawonga said that although transmission in a number of areas is still ongoing, there may be potential factors that may trigger the third wave as the country gears up for the Easter holidays.

Some of the potential triggers of a third wave include:

  • Moving to alert level 1 and relaxed restrictions;
  • Travelling due to the long weekend and Easter holidays;
  • Religious and social gatherings which could lead to superspreader events;
  • Family gatherings;
  • Reduced adherence to protocols;
  • Limited and delayed vaccinations;
  • Not enough people vaccinated to create herd immunity.

Kawonga said that there are also other factors, outside of the epidemiological data, which could lead to a third Covid-19 wave as identified by international scientists, including:

  • A slow vaccine roll-out;
  • Possible virus mutations;
  • Relaxed preventions;
  • The possibility of reinfections.

“Community transmission is still ongoing, the vaccination has started which has given us hope but it will not currently be enough to stop the third wave,” Kawonga said.

Makhura urged citizens to continue practicing non-pharmaceutical preventative measures such as social distancing, the wearing of masks, and hygiene practices,

ALSO READ: Third Covid-19 wave to hit SA ahead of schedule

Kawonga called for the avoidance of non-essential travel and gatherings in the lead up to and during the Easter weekend.

As much as these measures were not going to block the third wave, Kawonga said they could still be effective in lowering the numbers.

“What we have seen from previous waves not just in South Africa but elsewhere often in most situations if there is adherence from non-pharmaceutical interventions and people are actually taking the protocols for safety and protection perhaps it can make a difference in terms of keeping the numbers as low as possible to avoid that resurgence,” said Kawonga.

She said that until the country reaches herd immunity there was no guarantee that further waves could be prevented or stopped.

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