Health Dept: No need to panic yet about increasing COVID cases

According to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), most of these cases were picked up in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

FILE: Medical swabs to test for the coronavirus. Picture: Eyewitness News.

The presence of COVID-19 hasn’t left despite the national state of disaster being lifted and regulations being eased.

In the last 24-hour cycle, the country recorded a 16.8% positivity rate after 4,230 new cases were picked up.

According to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), most of these cases were picked up in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

The gradual increase in cases has sparked concerns of a looming fifth wave.

The Weekend Breakfast with Sara-Jayne King speaks to Foster Mohale from the Department of Health who says the department was gravely concerned about the increase the country was seeing in the past week (scroll up to listen).

We see this as a warning sign, especially for those who are not vaccinated and are partly vaccinated as they need to do something to protect themselves.

Foster Mohale, Department of Health spokesperson

But, Mohale says there is no need to panic just yet.

Because our experts are working together with the NICD and are closely monitoring the situation in order to establish the patterns of this progression.

Foster Mohale, Department of Health spokesperson

Mohale says despite the fact that less people are getting infected compared to previously, citizens are urged to still practice non-pharmaceutical interventions such as wearing a mask indoors and sanitising hands.

We are still in the pandemic and this pandemic continues to claim lives and we cannot continue to keep on losing lives especially while there is protection and while we can try to protect ourselves with vaccines and other non-pharmaceutical interventions.

Foster Mohale, Department of Health spokesperson

We want to remind people that just because the state of disaster has been lifted does not mean that the pandemic is over. So, let’s continue to protect ourselves by doing the right thing and continue to comply with the non-pharmaceutical interventions and if you feel that you need to wear a mask, you can still continue to wear the mask.

Foster Mohale, Department of Health spokesperson

Meanwhile, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says the provincial government will still have precautionary measures in place should infections and hospitalisations escalate.

We have actually got a tier level to kick in for when we see infections go over a certain rate and the effect that has on hospitalisation, that could kick into different tiers.

Foster Mohale, Department of Health spokesperson