What can we do to slow down the arrival of the COVID-19 third wave?

Professor Alex van den Heever, health and social security systems specialist, warned that the approaching Easter period could cause a spike in cases.

Gauteng Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo and representatives from the taxi bodies were on the Moloto Road in Pretoria checking if commuters were complying with COVID restrictions. Picture: @JacobMamaboloSA/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG – With the administration of COVID-19 vaccinations to healthcare workers in South Africa still in its early stages in South Africa, what do we need to do to cope with the arrival of the dreaded third wave of infections?

Professor Alex van den Heever, health and social security systems specialist, warned that the world is approaching the Easter period and that could cause a spike in cases.

“Super spreader events are what drive the upward trajectory of the pandemic so we’re going to the Easter period and people are going to parties and they connect in indoor spaces. That’s what made the difference [during December lockdown], not going to shopping centres and restaurants.”

Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would move to level one lockdown, which allows for large gatherings of up to 250 people outdoors and a maximum of 100 indoors. Restrictions on alcohol sales have also been lifted.

Van den Heever praised the government for imposing the December lockdown, saying it effectively targeted events where people gathered like parties and nightclubs.

“We have to continue to restrict gathering sizes indoors. Outdoors is much safer. Taxis with closed windows means people are being infected in taxis. But we did contain it in December and that gives you an idea of what you need to protect yourself against in the third surge.”

What about travel?

The professor stressed the importance of opening windows in transport like buses and taxis.

“If those windows are not down, even if you’re wearing a mask, you’ll get infected if someone is sick. You have to insist on those windows going down.”

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