Friday, 19 March 2021 18:54

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Photo Credit: Freddy Mavundla.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has given assurance that the government is not planning to tighten Covid-19 protocols to prevent a third wave during and after the Easter holidays.

Makhura on Friday addressed a briefing on Covid-19 status.

In a presentation, scientists from the provincial premier’s advisory committee said that their Covid-19 risk index shows a high possibility of a resurgence in the coming months.

The advisory committee’s Dr Mary Kawonga said that although transmission in a number of areas is still ongoing, there may be potential factors that may trigger the third wave as the country gears up for the Easter holidays.

Some of the potential triggers of a third wave include:

  • Moving to alert level 1 and relaxed restrictions;
  • Travelling due to the long weekend and Easter holidays;
  • Religious and social gatherings which could lead to superspreader events;
  • Family gatherings;
  • Reduced adherence to protocols;
  • Limited and delayed vaccinations;
  • Not enough people vaccinated to create herd immunity.

Kawonga said that there are also other factors, outside of the epidemiological data, which could lead to a third Covid-19 wave as identified by international scientists, including:

  • A slow vaccine roll-out;
  • Possible virus mutations;
  • Relaxed preventions;
  • The possibility of reinfections.

"Community transmission is still ongoing, the vaccination has started which has given us hope but it will not currently be enough to stop the third wave," Kawonga said.

Kawonga called for the avoidance of non-essential travel and gatherings in the lead up to and during the Easter weekend.

Makhura urged citizens to continue practicing non-pharmaceutical preventative measures such as social distancing, the wearing of masks, and hygiene practices.

A total of 90 more people have died over the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 51,724.

Most deaths came from Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Free State.

The Health Department reported 1,464 new cases and the recovery rate stands at 95 percent.