South Africa is recording a worrying increase in Covid-19 infections, especially in the Western Cape, according to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
The coastal province saw a 42% spike in new cases in the past week.
Nationwide, new cases increased by 9.1% in the past seven days, prompting the health department to urge provinces to “quickly mount a response, including contact tracing and quarantine”, Mkhize said on Wednesday.
The rise in infections in the Western Cape indicates a resurgence and the provincial health department has identified clusters of infections, said Mkhize, who is in quarantine at home after contracting the virus.
The biggest cluster was created by a so-called superspreader event that took place at a bar in Cape Town, he said.
“The risk of a resurgence remains high,” Mkhize said.
“It would be irresponsible of us to ignore small flames that we see redeveloping in some parts of the country.”
The country moved to lockdown level 1 on October 1, lifting most restrictions imposed during the hard lockdown in March.
On Wednesday, the country saw an additional 2 055 confirmed Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 708 359 infections and 18 741 deaths, the most in Africa.
Spending time in bars and nightclubs
Professor Salim Abdool Karim, co-chair of the Covid-19 ministerial advisory committee, told SAfm on Sunday that complacency was setting in and gatherings in bars and nightclubs were contributing significantly to the spread of the virus.
“It makes it almost inevitable that we will have a second wave,” Karim said. “We’re going to have to look for many more local interventions.”