Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize has confirmed that South Africa is officially experiencing a second wave of COVID-19.
Speaking during a media briefing on 9 December, Mkhize said the spike in COVID-19 cases in certain provinces is the key driver of this second wave.
These provinces are as follows:
- Eastern Cape
- Western Cape
“We are now in a second wave. Four provinces are the key drivers of this new wave. They are the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Gauteng,” Mkhize said.
“Up to the last week, the increase was mainly in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape in specific districts, but now we have numbers that indicate we are in a second wave.”
Breaching 6,000 daily cases
Mkhize said that South Africa has now breached the 6,000-case mark for daily COVID-19 tests, with 6,709 cases reported nationally in the past 24 hours.
He said that the demographics have also changed, with young people now showing the highest number of infections.
“The age distribution has also shown a different pattern from the norm,” Mkhize said.
“The age group 15-19 years showed the highest number of cases over the past two days.”
Mkhize said that following the department’s provincial visits, they are ready to submit their reports to cabinet.
These reports will determine which areas are classified as COVID-19 hotspots, based on the number of tests done, the positivity rate, the number of positive cases, the numbers of people who are admitted, and the number of fatalities.
President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced localised lockdown restrictions for COVID-19 hotspots, classifying Nelson Mandela Bay as the first area to be beholden to these stricter rules.
In hotspot areas, further restrictions are imposed on alcohol sales and public gatherings, as well as an extension to the national curfew.
The National State of Disaster has been extended until 15 January 2021, and all existing level 1 lockdown restrictions will remain in place nationwide.
This is in addition to the further restrictions placed on hotspot areas.
The classification of additional hotspot areas will depend on Parliament’s assessment of Minister Zweli Mkhize’s reports, once submitted.