- KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala says the province has entered a fourth Covid-19 infection wave.
- He said infections were "rising at an alarming rate".
- Zikalala identified eThekwini as the province's hotspot.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala says the province has officially entered its fourth wave of Covid-19 infections after it recorded significant increases in daily infection rates as well as the number of people who require hospitalisation and intensive care unit (ICU) beds.
He was speaking at a virtual media briefing on Sunday.
He said the number of cases that were recorded over the past seven days showed that infections were "rising at an alarming rate… the new wave of infecting is fast rising and the Omicron variant [of the virus that causes Covid-19] is driving this new surge in infections".
"Two weeks ago, the province had a test positivity rate of 0.7% but as of today (Sunday), the test positivity rate has jumped to 12.7%. The province started receiving more than 100 positive cases a day from 26 November," he said.
According to the premier, the province recorded 1 002 new cases in the 24 hours leading up to Saturday. The eThekwini metro is the hotspot and accounted for 550 of these - about 54.9% of all new cases in the province.
Zikalala said it was a clear indication that the province had entered a fourth wave.
"Further analysis of trends shows that while there is no significant increase in the number of deaths, people above the age of 60 have registered more deaths while there has also been a noticeable increasing in infection rate among those who are aged between 30 and 50," Zikalala added.
As a precautionary measure, Zikalala revealed that his government resolved to initiate a festive season Covid-19 plan to target all events. He warned residents that event organisers should ensure that there are Covid-19 plans in place to try to limit infection rates.
He also revealed that law enforcement officials would increase their monitoring of the taxi industry and shopping malls to ensure compliance with non-pharmaceutical Covid-19 interventions, such as social distancing and sanitising.
Zikalala added that the province was sufficiently ready for an increase in hospitalisations. He said 3 355 isolation beds were being made available as well as 117 ICU beds.
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