Health Minister Joe Phaahla said that healthcare facilities are already preparing for a fourth COVID-19 wave, but are doing everything they can to ensure that “when it comes it has far less impact.”
“As we have repeated, a fourth wave is expected and as we can see in other countries, so our national team is preparing for the fourth wave,” Phaahla said. The priority is ensuring that there is adequate oxygen supply, ventilators, beds and PPE available.
During a media briefing on Friday, the minister expressed that this resurgence would occur sometime between mid December and mid January, adding that the movement of people around the festive season could also contribute to a resurgence of cases. The emergence of a new variant of concern is another potential contributing factor, even though nothing has been detected.
“The fourth wave will be driven by movement by people and also driven by new variants. At the current moment the scientific team monitoring this has not yet found a variant of concern. The movement of people is inevitable which makes it more urgent for people to come forward to get vaccinated,” Phaahla adds.
Even though there were concerns regarding the local elections potentially being a super-spreader event, the country hasn’t experienced a spike in COVID-19 infections.
“We are pleased to report that not a single province or district has shown signs of a spike in COVID-19 infections, but we continue to monitor the situation with experts from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases and the Ministerial Advisory Committee,” he said.
#COVID19 UPDATE: A total of 24,034 tests were conducted in the last 24hrs, with 262 new cases, which represents a 1.1% positivity rate. A further 8 #COVID19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 89,484 to date. See more here: https://t.co/rzrXUWgYxM pic.twitter.com/t9hukKlelO
— NICD (@nicd_sa) November 14, 2021