Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says new restrictions are inevitable as the country approaches the third wave.
The number of positive Covid-19 cases has been steadily increasing, for the past weeks. At a provincial level, the Free State and Gauteng were now experiencing a third wave.
Northern Cape never met the technical criterion for exiting the second wave and has experienced a significant resurgence in recent weeks. Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, North West and the Western Cape are showing sustained increases, while Limpopo and Eastern Cape are the only two provinces not at risk of a third wave at present.
Mkhize who has called for the public not to panic, said discussions were underway with the Coronavirus Command Council, on what is the best way to reduce the numbers from increasing.
Mkhize said: “At some point we will have to look at some additional restrictions that have to be put into place to make sure that we can reduce the numbers. We are going to recommend that there should be more focus on the size of gatherings.
“The reality is that when the numbers start rising we will have to increase the restrictions and when they go down, we ease them,” added Mkhize.
Wits University Social Security systems expert, Professor Alex van den Heever said while it is likely that certain restrictions targeting indoor gatherings will be considered in the next few weeks, such decisions were often taken too late.
“It’s inconceivable that certain restrictions targeting indoor gatherings will be considered in the next few weeks.
“But there’s a question whether you look for a short-sharp-brief set of restrictions now, before it gets extreme, or you wait until the wave takes off, then you introduce restrictions.
“There’s a tendency to wait until it becomes extreme and the health system becomes under pressure before restrictions are introduced. We are still in the early stages but it does look like we have a significant upward trend. The question now is what nature of interventions will be introduced,” Van den Heever said.