NICD notes increase in average of new COVID cases, monitoring for resurgence

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has once again encouraged those who are unvaccinated to get their jabs, especially the elderly and people with comorbidities.

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

CAPE TOWN - The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said that it had observed an increase in the seven-day moving average for new COVID-19 cases.

It's also seen an increase in the percentage testing positive in Gauteng, particularly in Tshwane among 10 to 29-year-olds over the past week.

The NICD has once again encouraged those who are unvaccinated to get their jabs, especially the elderly and people with comorbidities.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases said that it had also recently identified a cluster of infections among the 20 to 44 age group at an institute of higher education in Tshwane.

The institute's Professor Adrian Puren said that they are monitoring these trends to see if the increases persisted.

He said that localised increases in case numbers or clusters were not unexpected, however, it was hard to say whether the increases indicated the start of a widespread resurgence.

Puren said that previous waves have been driven to a large extent by the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants, -Beta in the second wave and Delta in the third.

"The Delta variant still remains the dominant variant in circulation. Genetic sequencing in South Africa to date has not yet detected the emergence of the new variants which are making an increased proportion of the sequences."

Puren said that regardless of potential new variants in the future, the importance of non-pharmaceutical interventions remained unchanged and people were urged to wear masks, practice hand hygiene, maintain social distancing and to gather in well-ventilated spaces.