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Rise in Covid-19 cases increases risk of second wave

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Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize, warned the public that the number of Covid-19 cases is on the rise and to take precautions to avoid a second wave of infections in the country.

The Minister, who along with his wife tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week and is under quarantine at home, said that there are concerning trends in the country’s infection rates.

“This morning, after reading and analysing our country’s epidemiological reports, as the Minister of Health, I cannot help but be concerned. Fellow South Africans, when we emphasize that the risk of a resurgence remains high, we do not do so to instil fear in you.

“As government, we have a responsibility to alert you when we see concerning trends. It would be irresponsible of us to ignore ‘small flames’ that we see redeveloping in some parts of the country,” said the Minister in a statement on Wednesday.

Mkhize said that - over the past week - the country’s epidemiological reports show an increase of 9.1% in new cases. Similarly, over the last 14 days, there has been an increase of 10.7%.

“We are also seeing concerning increases in some of the provinces. To illustrate this, in the last seven days, there was a marked increase in the number of new cases in the Western Cape.

“The province recorded a 42% increase in new infections. According to our resurgence plan, we define this significant spike in new cases in the Western Cape as a resurgence,” he said.

The Western Cape Provincial Health Department identified the clusters responsible for the increase in cases and called for each of these clusters to be investigated and addressed as soon as possible.

The single biggest cluster outbreak was to be in the Southern Sub-district in the Cape Metro and traced to a super-spreader event at a bar.

“We await further reports from the Western Cape Health response teams who are now required to target the sub-districts with a high increase of new cases over the last two weeks.

“We are now encouraging all provinces to pay attention to these increasing numbers and quickly mount a response, including contact tracing and quarantine,” said the Minister.

The minister added that the rate of new infections and deaths will determine the Health Department’s recommendations to the National Coronavirus Council.

With the country still battling infections, the Minister urged citizens to continue to take precautions.

“As we continue to monitor the development of a vaccine, the only weapon we possess as a country is our social behaviour and constant adherence to health protocols. All of us must take this responsibility and always encourage those around us.

“We must also take heed of the major lessons from the COVID-19 that is despite the anxiety, the psychological trauma, the physical suffering and grief from lives we lost, Covid-19 has reawakened our deep values of Ubuntu in us all,” said the Minister.

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