Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has said that the government is considering reviewing lockdown restrictions in South Africa after a spike in COVID-19 cases has swept across the country.
Yesterday, South Africa reported 14,046 new COVID-19 cases, with cumulative cases in the country rising to 954,258. An additional 411 COVID-19-related deaths were reported. The country’s ‘second wave’ has coincided with the festive period where many South Africans are traveling long distances.
Ten days ago, Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation and pleaded with South Africans to exercise caution, while causing an uproar over his announcement that beaches will be closed – which was unsuccessfully contested by the DA.
However, COVID-19 continues to spread through the country at a rate that is significantly faster than the rate of infection was when the first wave hit the country, according to Dr. Mkhize.
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) December 23, 2020
“We must warn South Africans that we will need to review the current restrictions and consider further measures to ensure that we curb this alarming rate of spread,” Mhize said, according to BusinessTech.
Mkhize stopped short of suggesting that there will be another hard lockdown in South Africa, but it could be something that Mkhize and other government decision-makers are going to have to contemplate. It would decimate South Africa’s already-broken economy, but so will the continued explosion of cases. It is a fine line that the government will have to walk on, going into 2021.
He also warned that cases are on the rise in all of South Africa’s provinces except for the Eastern Cape, with 81% of the new cases reported coming out of KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, and Gauteng.
“Therefore it will be important for us to evaluate the situation, identify hotspots in these areas and make recommendations based on these findings and the outcomes of what has been implemented in the hotspots that have been identified so far,” Mkhize added.