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Prof Shabir Madhi: SA must address root cause of flare-up in COVID-19 infections

The professor’s comments come in the wake of coronavirus infection surges in parts of the country, which have raised fears that South Africa could see a second wave in cases compounded by gatherings during the upcoming festive season.

FILE: A Doctors Without Border (MSF) nurse (C) performs a COVID-19 coronavirus test during a Ministry of Health screening and testing drive in the Wolhuter men's hostel in Jeppestown district of Johannesburg, on 14 May 2020. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Wits University professor of vaccinology Shabir Madhi on Thursday said measure to curb the recent flare-up of COVID-19 infections would only go so far unless the root cause of the resurgence was addressed.

ALSO READ: President Ramaphosa to address the nation tonight

Madhi’s comments come in the wake of coronavirus infection surges in parts of the country, which have raised fears that South Africa could see a second wave in cases compounded by gatherings during the upcoming festive season.

It is widely reported that government is planning to introduce a 10pm curfew and a partial ban on alcohol sales over weekends.

Madhi said as people moved between the Eastern Cape and other provinces, particularly the Western Cape, it was only a matter of time before the surge speeded to other parts of the country.

ALSO READ: W Cape sees a 42% weekly increase of new COVID-19 cases - Health Dept

However, the flare-up of infection was largely dependent on the behaviour of citizens.

“Limiting alcohol sales from Monday to Thursday and having a curfew can only go as far in terms of being able to assist when it comes to COVID-19.

"But having those sorts of restrictions without addressing the root cause for the resurgence, is not going to be too helpful when people during the day continue behaving as if COVID doesn’t exist and continue engaging in mass gatherings,” Madhi said.

South Africa’s coronavirus transmission rate have slowed significantly after infections peaked in July, while second and third waves of COVID-19 infections were sweeping much of the globe.

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