January 25, 2022

Published from Mumbai, Delhi & Bhopal

S. Africa retains ‘Level 1’ lockdown as Covid-19 cases surge

Johannesburg : With the latest Covid-19 cases at 26,976, the National Coronavirus Command Council has retained lockdown restrictions at “adjusted level 1”, health authorities said on Thursday.

Dr Angelique Coetzee, chairperson of the South African Medical Association (SAMA), told Xinhua that “it makes sense to keep lockdown at this level as hospitals are not overwhelmed at this stage. We need to tighten lockdown measures when hospitalisation admissions and ICU are higher.”

Health Minister Joe Phaahla has said the Command Council instructed the health department to monitor new cases, hospitalisations, and deaths mainly driven by Omicron during this festive season, Xinhua news agency reported.

The department said parties and weddings posed the greatest risks for transmission as they were considered super spreaders.

“We call upon all travellers, especially those who are unvaccinated or partly vaccinated coming from areas declared hotspots, to get vaccinated before hitting the roads to protect their families and friends they will be visiting during this period associated with large social gatherings like parties and weddings, which can be ‘super spreader’ events that carry a huge risk of transmission of the virus,” Phaahla noted.

South Africa has been the worst affected country by the pandemic in the continent with higher levels of cases and deaths.

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases’s report on Wednesday, 26,976 new Covid cases have been identified in the country, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3,231,031. Fifty four deaths associated with the virus were recorded over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 90,226.

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