The National Coronavirus Command Council will meet on Wednesday morning. The meeting will take place as speculation mounts on social media that the country will be moved to harder lockdown this week.
Many social media users are convinced that alert level five lockdown is just around the corner amid a spike in coronavirus infections during the festive season.
South Africa has recorded 12 601 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the cumulative number to 1 113 349.
Another 434 people have succumbed to COVID-19 related complications, putting the national death toll at 30 011.
Repercussions of stricter lockdown
Earlier, Economist Duma Gqubule said South Africa cannot afford a more stringent lockdown.
Gqubule said a stringent lockdown can only delay the surge in new coronavirus infections and has this advice for the government for it to win the fight against the pandemic.
“We have to have a proper public health response. We have to have test results coming out very quickly like in a few hours. And we have a chaotic public sector testing system where results took two days, so we can’t use a lockdown as a substitute for not having proper public health measures. That’s what I’m trying to say, a lockdown is what happens when everything else has failed.”
Spike in cases in Gauteng
On Monday, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said specialists advised that a spike in COVID-19 cases is likely as people return to Gauteng in early January after the holidays.
As concerns mount over the province’s capacity to deal with another surge in COVID-19 cases, Makhura said they’re working on increasing capacity so that healthcare facilities are not overwhelmed.
Gauteng braces itself for a spike in COVID-19 cases as holidaymakers return:
“We’re also looking at the beds’ availability, we’re working with the private sector. The difference between now and the first wave is that we have more beds now than we had during the first wave. We’ve also increased the number of staff and health workers. But we know that as the province in the next two weeks, we’re going to go through a difficult time. Now that everybody is back from all over the country, the healthcare system will feel the pressure and we want to appeal again to the people of our province, let us cooperate, let us collaborate, let us comply because this will help our healthcare system not to be overloaded.”
The continued surge in COVID-19 cases comes amid concerns over government’s vaccine rollout plan.
On Sunday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced that they are expediting the delivery of a vaccine and are pushing for a rollout in February. He said a minimum of 67% of SA’s population will be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
Dr Zweli Mkhize gives more clarity on SA’s vaccine rollout:
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