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S.African president warns of second Covid-19 wave

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A member of medical staff swabs the mouth of a resident as she is testing him for a virus, during a nationwide lockdown for 21 days to try to contain the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Alexandra, South Africa. — Reuters pic
A member of medical staff swabs the mouth of a resident as she is testing him for a virus, during a nationwide lockdown for 21 days to try to contain the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Alexandra, South Africa. — Reuters pic

PRETORIA, Nov 12 ― South African President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday warned of a second coronavirus wave following a surge of infections in a southern province in the continent’s worst-affected country.

The Eastern Cape province recorded a 50 per cent jump in coronavirus cases over the past week, Ramaphosa said.

“What we are witnessing in the Eastern Cape should be a wake-up call to all of us, that we cannot relax and we cannot be complacent,” he said.

“We can avoid a second wave if we each play our part, if we remember what we need to do to keep ourselves and others safe.”

Ramaphosa said new coronavirus cases in the Eastern Cape ― already hard hit during the outbreak’s peak in July ― had risen by 145 per cent in the last two weeks compared to the previous 14 days.

A strict lockdown was implemented in March to stem the spread of the virus, which has infected more than 742,300 people and killed just over 20,000 in South Africa.

Ramaphosa said a “resurgence plan” would be implemented to respond to new localised outbreaks.

It would involve intensified contact tracing and testing, and prepare health facilities for potential cluster outbreaks.  

Ramaphosa called on citizens not to breach rules on wearing face masks in public and limiting social gatherings.

The president also announced a further easing of some remaining restrictions to facilitate a “rapid and sustained economic recovery”.

Limits on the sale of alcohol will be lifted and all visitors will be allowed to enter South Africa with a negative Covid-19 certificate.

Travellers from countries with high infection rates had been barred from entry until now. ― AFP

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