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Mkhize: No decision yet on stricter lockdown over festive period

The cumulative number of infections now stands on 757,000 cases with the Eastern Cape and Western Cape showing a spike in the number of infections per day.

FILE: Health Minister Zweli Mkhize addresses a media briefing on 13 July 2020. Picture: @DrZweliMkhize/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said he was extremely concerned that the latest daily number of COVID-19 infections is nearly at 3,000 with pockets of cluster outbreaks.

The cumulative number of infections now stands on 757,000 cases with the Eastern Cape and Western Cape showing a spike in the number of infections per day.

Mkhize said at this point, health officials believed that they could still contain the cluster outbreak in parts of the Eastern Cape, like the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

“I am very concerned and I think it’s important that all South Africans be very concerned. The real issue is that the numbers should be going down and stabilising or staying steady at a lower level. And therefore, something that we did right at the beginning will probably be people taking the message seriously. At this time, it looks like complacency is coming.”

Mkhize said they were concerned about what they call super spreader events.

“We are concerned by what we’ve seen as super spreader events. In the case of the Western Cape, we have identified a number of incidents. There have been parties, particularly involving students with no masks and with the use of alcohol. Those tend to explode.”

The Health Minister said that government was extremely worried about the spike in daily coronavirus infections but that no decision had yet been taken on whether to impose restrictions during the festive season.

It is only five weeks to Christmas and the minister is concerned that there's the potential for more people to be infected during the festive season.

"If we are not able to contain the spread by then, you will notice that the whole area will have spread and will therefore start having us look at tighter measures. We've not at this point decided there's going to be stricter lockdown measures during Christmas but it is a matter of concern. There's be a lot of movement of people, they're not doing any work, so they're mingling and enjoying the festive season."

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