Concerns mount as Covid infection rate in South Africa doubles

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New cases of the coronavirus in South Africa doubled in one day, increasing pressure on the government to review the limits on public gatherings for unvaccinated people.

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases announced Wednesday evening that infections in the previous 24 hours were 8,561, up from 4,373 a day earlier.

Experts pointed out that the projection by leading epidemiologist Dr Salim Abdool Karim on Monday that South Africa would likely have 10,000 cases a day by Sunday in the fourth wave would be reached by Thursday.

The economic center of Gauteng province accounts for 72% of current infections.

As the organizers of a number of events continue to cancel or postpone their duties indefinitely, calls are mounting for the government to revise the limits on public gatherings for unvaccinated people.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced last Sunday that there would be no change to the current lowest level one of the country’s five-level lockdown strategy.

This still allows for a substantial number of indoor and outdoor gatherings, which needed to be curtailed, analysts suggested.

Ramaphosa made the announcement following the discovery of the new Omicron variant, which has also been discovered in a number of other countries.

The president said the decision would be reconsidered after a week, with some saying an increase in foreclosure restriction levels is inevitable despite the risk to the economy that had just started to recover.

South Africa was also hit with a travel ban to more than 20 countries, which Ramaphosa said was an unfair and discriminatory action simply because the country’s experts were the first to identify the new variant.

The usual tourism boom of the December / January period, especially from the UK, US and Europe, which was supposed to boost the economy, will now no longer occur as many countries have banned tourist destinations. flights to and from South Africa.

As the government scrambled to find ways to encourage local tourism to counter this, many inland citizens who typically flock to the coastal cities of Durban and Cape Town have reportedly canceled their reservations over fears of the spread of the virus.

In the south coast town of Ballito, which annually hosts tens of thousands of students who completed their final year of schooling for a rave night at the Rage Festival, organizers canceled the event on Wednesday after 36 people attended. are found to be positive.

Previously, organizers had insisted the event would continue as they had adequate COVID-19 protocols in place, including participants producing mandatory vaccination certificates.

“It is our responsibility to do the right thing, based on the facts, the collaboration and the resources and tools at our disposal,” the organizers said in a statement.

The same event last year turned into a super-spreader when more than 800 tested positive.


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