Fear and concern are rapidly increasing in anticipation of the third wave as the COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in South Africa. According to Business Insider, the shortage of oxygen levels is a primary concern, but South African oxygen suppliers say that they are ready to meet the demands that lie ahead.
Early in 2020, public and private hospitals suffered significant oxygen shortages. This has led suppliers to be better prepared for a surge in numbers.
As TimesLive reports, a member of the COVID-19 ministerial advisory committee, Professor Ian Sanne, expressed confidence in the adequacy of oxygen production by saying: “SA has an oxygen production capacity approximately eight times the rate at which oxygen is used in winter months without Covid-19. This amount will be sufficient to support hospitals that may face a rapid increase in patients in the third wave.”
EWN quotes the head of the Western Cape Health Department, Dr. Keith Cloete, who echoed the readiness of the healthcare system: “We have a whole lot of trigger systems in place. We have sufficient capacity. We’ve got the timing. We know exactly when to trigger, how to bring deaths online, how to prepare for the oxygen, how quick to prepare for cases as they increase so the province is ready to respond.”
According to the Health Department, 3,614 new infections were recorded and 95 COVID-19 related deaths were reported. This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced tighter restrictions for South Africans as the country moved to adjusted level 2 lockdown on Monday, 31 May.
BusinessTech reports that Ramaphosa stressed the importance of taking precautions during this time by saying: “It is important that we strictly observe all the health protocols by wearing a mask, keeping our distance from others, and ensuring proper ventilation. But wherever possible, we should cut down on our contacts during this time.”
He continued to say: “That may mean postponing social engagements, avoiding public spaces and not travelling unless absolutely necessary.”