The Health Department in South Africa says the rate of coronavirus infections and deaths across the country is expected to continue to increase as the second wave sweeps across the nation.
On Wednesday, the department indicated that the virus continues to spread exponentially. The government says the current rate of the virus is much faster than that of the first wave and will surpass its peak in the coming days.
The department warns South Africans that they will need to review the current restrictions and consider further measures to ensure that we curb this alarming rate of spread.
Around 10 000 new cases and well over 100 deaths are now being reported every day.
Dr Kerrigan McCarthy explains the new variant of coronavirus spreading quickly:
Government has urged people to continue wearing masks, practice social distancing and regular handwashing to protect themselves and their loved ones from the potentially deadly disease.
Latest SA stats below:
Concern over rate of spread
Scientists have expressed concern over the rapid manner in which the new variant of the coronavirus transfers among people saying the South African variant is mutating at an alarming rate.
Virologist, Tulio de Oliveira, says there are concerns that South Africa is not testing enough for the virus.
“It’s very concerning. What we have is a positivity rate of the testing at 26 percent. What that means is every four tests that we do, one is positive. The UK got very worried and they decided to make stronger interventions when the positivity rate passed 1 percent. So what we are seeing in SA in the number of infections is just the tip of the iceberg because we are not testing very widely and a quarter of our testing can be positive.”
Laboratories have, nonetheless, reported an increase in the number of South Africans who are coming to them for testing.
The numbers have doubled at Lancelet while the National Health Laboratory Services says it still has capacity.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has on the other hand sought to explain how the COVID-19 variant rapidly transmits among people.
The world health body says the mutation likely assists the coronavirus to bind to human cells.
The virus mutation in the spike protein known as N501Y- latches easily on to and enters human cells, causing health complications.
The Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention briefs the media on the coronavirus pandemic:
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