The third wave of COVID-19 could be tipped over by the highly infectious Delta variant now active in South Africa, according to acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.
The Delta variant is responsible for the third wave that hit India.
Professor Tulio D’Oliveira, a member of the ministerial advisory committee, expressed that this particular variant has now been positive in tests, in accordance with SA Coronavirus.
Head of the ministerial advisory committee, Prof Koleka Mlisana, said that an urgent need to intensify lockdown restrictions is necessary. According to TimesLive, she has called for a total ban on all social gatherings.
Changes to lockdown regulations will be discussed on Sunday, said Kubayi-Ngubane.
D’Oliveira expressed that:
“We are worried that it seems to be dominating and it’s just spread everywhere in the KZN province,” as per EWN.
According to D’Oliveira, the Pfizer vaccine is allegedly 96% effective against the variant.
In the emergency meeting however, he added that the latest reproduction number of 1.3 (meaning every infected person insects another 1.3 persons) is growing exponentially.
Further, D’Oliveira expressed that the latest known variant was traced back to widespread sources in KwaZulu-Natal, according to data, and has now reached 85 countries.
“It is very quickly starting to dominate the global pandemic.”
“It is really highly transmissible, more than all other variants, including the Beta variant from SA,” he added.
According to D’Oliveira, the Delta variant meant that those recovered from an initial COVID-19 infection can become reinfected. More data is needed to confirm this.
The arrival of the Delta variant has changed the model for the third wave, says Mlisana.
“Looking at how quickly this variant actually leads to increased cases, for the provinces other than Gauteng we are probably talking a matter of days,” she said.
“We can already see that the hospitals in Gauteng are struggling severely.
“This goes back to what we have been saying: we’re going to need to make sure that we get on to hard restrictions, tighter restrictions.
“We need to be very decisive and go to the extent of saying ‘how do we restrict movement of persons?’ and that needs to be done very urgently.
“Probably we are saying there should be no gatherings whatsoever.”
The advisory committee is said to be working on a document for Sunday regarding the country’s response to the Delta variant.
Picture: Gauteng Province