Covid-19: SA enters second wave as Mkhize warns of surge in infections among teens

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Dr. Zweli Mkhize Foto: DAILY SUN
Dr. Zweli Mkhize Foto: DAILY SUN
  • South Africa has entered a second wave of infections, breaching 6 000 new Covid-19 cases.
  • The Cabinet will discuss the new situation and President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation soon.
  • The 15 to 19 age group has shown the most infections in the last two days.

South Africa  recorded 6 709 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, with health minister Zweli Mkhize confirming a second wave has hit  the country.

In a special live television broadcast on Wednesday night, Mkhize said increases were seen in about six provinces. 

The peak age bracket of new cases in the past two days is between 15 and 19. 

"This is a new issue and this is what is most worrying," said Mkhize. 

"It's believed to be due to a large number of parties involving young people drinking alcohol with no adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions; wearing of no masks and social distancing and hand sanitising also not taking place. 

SEE | News24's Covid-19 dashboard: Track the spread, recovery and mortality statistics here

"A report from KwaZulu-Natal last week showed the pattern was more widespread than thought. This inevitably leads to superspreader activities which spill over into the rest of the country as the age group is highly mobile and the majority of the carriers are largely asymptomatic," he added. 

Events

Many of the new cases have been associated with Ballito Rage events in KwaZulu-Natal. 

Other Rage events have been cancelled, and authorities on the Garden Route and in the Cape metro have been cancelling planned events as the emergence of a second wave became clear.

FULL SPEECH | Ramaphosa declares Nelson Mandela Bay a Covid-19 hotspot

Mkhize said new cases have been detected primarily in the Western and Eastern Cape as well as KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, which are regarded as the key drivers of the new wave of infections. 

The breakdown of new test positives for Wednesday are:

Western Cape: 30%

Eastern Cape: 24%

KwaZulu-Natal 23%

Gauteng: 17%

The Free State, Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga recorded 1% of new cases, while the Northern Cape recorded less than 1%. 

The average test positivity has moved from around 10% (out of every 100 tests conducted) to around 18%.

Numbers rose from below 1 000 new cases per day [towards the end of September], and has steadily increased from 2 000 new cases to 6 000. 

A further 135 Covid-19-related deaths were reported, with 56 occurring in the Eastern Cape, 15 in the Free State, 16 in Gauteng, seven in KwaZulu-Natal 7 and 48 in the Western Cape.

READ | All Rage Festival events postponed 'until further notice'

A total of 22 574 people have died, but 754 658 have recovered (91.5% of patients).

Address

The Cabinet will discuss region-specific reports as well as plans and proposals from provincial governments and municipalities, and President Cyril Ramaphosa would address the nation in due course.  

Mkhize called on people to be responsible over the holiday season to prevent more people becoming infected, being admitted to hospital or dying. 

Meanwhile, the Western Cape government said the Knysna Provincial Hospital received additional bulk order oxygen on Wednesday to keep up with the demand for Covid-19 patients.

Thirty of the hospital's 31 Covid-19 cases were on oxygen support and daily oxygen use had more than doubled since the resurgence.

"We must all do our part in limiting exposure to the virus. Please adhere to the rules, wear your mask, limit exposure through limited interaction with others," said Dr Andries Brink, the medical manager of the Knysna/Bitou sub-districts.

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