Winde urges residents to go get jabbed amid looming fourth wave

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde and health officials gave an update on COVID-19 situation in the province on Friday.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde at the crime summit. Picture: SAPS

CAPE TOWN - With the fourth wave looming and the uncertainty of the new variant B.1.1.529, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde is calling on residents to get vaccinated.

Winde and health officials gave an update on COVID-19 situation in the province earlier on Friday.

Health officials said they were seeing early signs of the start of a fourth wave in the Western Cape. Cases are low but there's been increases in the number of daily new cases over the past few days.

Winde is calling on scientists to provide clarity, as soon as possible, on the many unknowns regarding the newly identified variant.

Premier Winde said the uncertainty was creating panic and was resulting in countries taking precautionary, temporary steps by banning travel to South Africa and region.

He said this was a blow to the economy and would be felt most in the province, the tourism and hospitality sector was highly reliant on international travellers over this peak season.

“We need to get to these points very quickly because we need to make sure that we are engaging to protect our economy and also protect our citizens at the same time.”

Professor Mary-Anne Davies said the new variant was detected in Gauteng at relatively high frequency. She adds even though cases have not been confirmed, she's pretty certain its present in the Western Cape.

“We are pretty certain that this variant is present [in the Western Cape]. The data from the PCR test is present even though we don’t have a confirmed Geno sequenced case.”

The health department said measures had been put in place in response to the fourth wave.