South Africa moved to Level 2 lockdown amid third wave concerns

President Cyril Ramaphosa moves country to an adjusted level two lockdown effective Monday.

The revised restrictions follow concerns that the country is heading into a third wave of Covid-19 infections, with daily new infections having averaged 3745 over the past seven days – marking an increase of 31 per cent on the previous week, and an increase of 66 per cent on the week before that. In addition to a sustained increase in new cases over the past two weeks, an increase in hospital admissions across almost all provinces has also been documented. With the Free State, Northern Cape, North West and Gauteng having already reached the statistical threshold indicating they have reached a third wave, the rest of the country was expected to follow shortly.

Concerns about an impending third wave come as South Africa is currently rolling out the second phase of its vaccination programme targeting the elderly. According to the President, more than 960,000 South Africans have received a Covid-19 vaccine to date. This includes more than two-thirds of the country’s public health workers. Since the start of the second rollout phase two weeks ago, more than 480,000 people received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. However, with Pfizer’s vaccine requiring two doses, those vaccinated would need to have their second dose 42 days after their first. In addition, more doses from Johnson & Johnson are expected as South Africa looks to vaccinate its 40 million adults.