South Africa has experienced a sharp rise in the daily number of confirmed COVID-19 cases following several Matric “Rage” parties. KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng have been the hardest hit by the fallout of such parties, and Professor Salim Abdool Karim has expressed genuine concern of a national second wave.
Speaking on Tuesday, December 8, Karim noted that more than 100 infections have originated from a rage superspreader event in KZN, with most of the cases concentrated in the area of Ballito.
He is particularly concerned, as many tend to travel for inter-provincial holidays or to visit family members over the festive season.
“There is no question. What we witnessed at the Ballito Rage is a super spreading event. There are now almost 100 infections and counting. One or two of these events; and the virus takes off. Everybody who attended [the Ballito Matric Rage] should quarantine. We hope doing so will blunt the spread,” Karim said.
“My big concern, on December 16, we will have 100 000s of people moving, that’s what’s worrying me. Movement restrictions won’t be practical. Rather wear a mask, sanitise, socially distance.”
According to Karim, a “pathway has been opened” for a second wave in South Africa. He also believes that criminal charges must be laid against any event organisers who have broken COVID-19 protocols, and Rage may be the first to be in the firing line.
“Given that the pandemic has now been spreading in the Eastern and Western Cape for almost a month, these increases that we are seeing in KZN and Gauteng are quite worrying. We are now getting to a point where the numbers are suggesting that we are entering into a pathway that will take us into a second wave,” he said.
“If the organisers are found to have broken the rules, in my view, they should be charged and all of the individuals who have acquired infection and are now quarantined should consider suing them for loss of income.”