Health experts have warned that South Africa could introduce further lockdown restrictions as the country officially enters into a third Covid-19 wave of infections.
Senior members of the government’s Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) told News24 that a move to an adjusted level 3 lockdown should be considered. Of particular concern is a shortage of hospital beds in some provinces, with Gauteng expected to reach maximum capacity within the next two weeks.
Among the restrictions which are being called for is:
Adjusted level 3 lockdown
Calls for level 3 lockdown are not new, with the MAC making the recommendation to move to that level in May. A move to lockdown level 2 was ultimately announced, drawing some criticism from health experts that not enough was being done to combat rising numbers.
In early June, the South African Medical Association (SAMA) said that government should look at introducing further restrictions beyond level 2 to combat the rise in infections and growing fatigue.
The not-for-profit group, which represents the interests of medical doctors in South Africa, raised concerns that it is already difficult to secure hospital beds in parts of the country due to an increase in cases.
Among other measures, it is calling for:
The last time South Africa was at lockdown level 3 was when the country faced a second coronavirus wave of cases over December 2020 and January 2021.
First announced on 28 December, the level 3 lockdown lasted for more than a month and included restrictions around:
South Africa officially entered into a third wave of Covid-19 infections after it reported 9,149 new cases on Thursday (10 June).
The country’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said the increase in cases has brought the national seven-day moving average incidence (5,959 cases) which exceeds the new wave threshold as defined by the government’s Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC).
The MAC defines the new wave seven-day moving average threshold as 30% of the peak incidence of the previous wave.
The country has now reported a total of 1,722,08 cases, with the 9,149 new cases representing a 15.7% positivity rate based on tests competed.