Rise in SA's COVID cases threatening relaxation of level 4 restrictions

Government's decision to enforce stricter rules was informed by frightening surge in COVID infections as the Delta variant spread across the country.

FILE: A patient infected with COVID-19 at the Tembisa Hospital in Gauteng on 2 March 2021. Picture: Guillem Sartorio / AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The current lockdown restrictions are meant to last until Sunday and public health experts said the next few days would be crucial to determine what happened next.

Adjusted level 4 restrictions, which include the banning of alcohol sales and on-site consumption at restaurants came into effect on 28 June.

Government's decision to enforce stricter rules was informed by frightening surge in COVID infections as the Delta variant spread across the country.

READ MORE: SA moves to adjusted COVID-19 alert level 4 for 14 days - what it looks like

New cases in their thousands are threatening the relaxation of level 4 restrictions, which were only set for two weeks.

Chief medical specialist and Head of the School of Nursing and Public Health at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Professor Mosa Moshabela said fresh cases of hospitalisations and deaths in Gauteng havd surpassed the first two waves.

This, he believes will be key to government's decision on whether to extend level 4 or a return to level three.

“Hospital admissions and how they will continue to increase for another week, and then over the next two weeks we are probably going to see an increase in the number of deaths. We already saw last night that moved from being in the three hundreds to being in the four hundreds,” Moshabela.

Moshabela said if numbers stabilised over the coming days, then level 4 would have achieved its purpose.

“As to whether those numbers are maintaining a steady downward trend or fluctuating in Gauteng, if they're still fluctuating, an argument could be made for another week of level four lockdown. And if they're stabilising and issuing a downward trend, then an argument can be made for an adjusted level,” he said.

The professor said human behaviour also contribute to the trends.

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