The third wave of Covid-19 has hit Gauteng, says its premier David Makhura.
The Gauteng Department of Health said a 63% increase in Covid cases was reported over a seven-day period by 12 May and the country is recording more than 2 500 new cases a day.
One of the reasons for these rising numbers is less people are following the recommended safety protocols, health experts say.
After more than a year spent socially distancing, a study has found an overall drop in adherence to preventative measures.
Although 65% of South Africans largely adhere to Covid-19 preventative measures including regularly washing hands, using sanitisers, mask wearing and social distancing, an alarming 35% aren't really bothering to do their bit, according to Ask Afrika’s Covid-19 Tracker study.
This limited adherence group is least likely to observe social distancing and isolating after testing positive for Covid-19, which means they are potential superspreaders of the virus. Not only is this group less likely to trust the advice of official sources, such as health experts, doctors, nurses and the World Health Organization, it is also generally less trusting of vaccine-related advice or opinions.
Also, nearly half of those surveyed said they experienced stigma against adhering to preventative measures, particularly social distancing and mask wearing and even using hand sanitiser. The study actually recorded a 20% decrease in the use of hand sanitiser between February and March this year.
However, the bottom line is clear – when soap and water are not available to wash your hands, health experts agree hand sanitisers are the next best thing.
Ramping up safety, the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) released a new standard for hand sanitisers earlier this year, which includes a minimum concentration of 70% alcohol.
It’s important to check if the sanitiser has been officially certified and has the SABS Approved mark on the product, says Annette Devenish, marketing director at Infection Protection Products that manufactures the Sani-touch range.
There have been numerous complaints around questionable sanitisers in the past year, she says, which is why it’s so important to check sanitisers are certified, safe to use, and provide the required protection against the coronavirus.
As South Africa once again faces the prospect of another wave of Covid-19 infections, a collective effort to maintain the necessary precautions is needed.
“If the past year has taught us anything, it is that we can each make a difference if we practise all the recommended safety guidelines, both to safeguard our own health and the health of those around us,” Annette says.
We may be fed up with all things covid but life is not back to normal, says Andrea Rademeyer, the CEO of Ask Afrika and the project lead on the Covid-19 Tracker study.
“As we head into winter, it is critical that we all practice preventative measures,” she adds. And that means social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands and sanitising.