Mkhize warns South Africa’s third wave is around the corner

As the country sees a spike in new cases, government warns provinces to ready themselves.

During his department’s budget vote speech in Parliament earlier today, the health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize told the country to brace itself for the third wave of Covid-19 as infections continue to rise across all nine provinces. Over the past 24 hours, the ministry reported 2,759 new cases - the highest daily rate in quite some time. Since last week, cases have risen by 46% across the country. While South Africa as a whole is not yet at a level to be regarded as having reached its third wave, the health ministry warned some areas are “fast approaching” a resurgence threshold. The Free State has already confirmed that it was in the midst of its third wave.

Over the last two weeks, the highest spike was seen in the Northern Cape, at 68%. This was followed by Gauteng at 63%, Limpopo at 47%, North West at 42% and Western Cape at 39%. Since the onset of the pandemic, 1,602,031 cases were reported along with 54,968 deaths. While there has not been an increase in hospital admissions over the past week, Covid-19-related deaths increased by nearly 20%, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases. The third wave concerns come as the country continues to ramp up its vaccination programme. To date, a total of 430,730 vaccines have been administered. To minimize the spread, South Africans are encouraged to continue observing social distancing rules.