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Public health expert urges caution as people return home from Easter break

Professor Alex van den Heever, a health and social security systems specialist, said that the movement between provinces did not necessarily drive a wave unless they were going into a context where super spreading was very risky.

FILE: A nurse from Lancet Nectare hospital performs a COVID-19 coronavirus test in Richmond, Johannesburg, on 18 December 2020. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - With thousands of people moving between provinces over the Easter long weekend, a public health expert has appealed to people to exercise caution.

Traffic authorities in the Western Cape said that close to 500,000 vehicle movements were tracked at sites including the N2, N7 and R27 over the Easter long weekend.

Around 70,000 cars were recorded travelling to KwaZulu-Natal from Gauteng.

Professor Alex van den Heever, a health and social security systems specialist, said that the movement between provinces did not necessarily drive a wave unless they were going into a context where super spreading was very risky.

"If you went into a high-risk setting, you want to be very careful about immediately going back and connecting with family members who might be at risk. You want to be cautious for a few days and see. Symptoms will develop in about two days."

He said that in terms of a possible third wave, this depended on whether or not the high-risk gatherings occurred.

"With the infection levels dropping, people start saying well it's over, it's not so risky. It's at those points in time that the next wave is ignited. It just takes a few instances of incaution."

Van den Heever said that the COVID-19 figures were low, which was positive, however, the only problem was complacency as the country still had community transmission everywhere.

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