The sudden rise of Covid-19 in South Africa has led the country to more than 1 million confirmed cases when President Cyril Ramaphosa called an emergency meeting of the national coronavirus command council.
The country’s new variant of the coronavirus, 501.V2, is more contagious and has quickly become dominant in many areas of the resurgence, experts say.
With South African hospitals reaching capacity and with no signs that the new surge is reaching its peak, Ramaphosa is expected to announce a return to restrictive measures designed to slow the spread of the disease.
“We are not defenseless against this variant,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Richard Lessells told the Associated Press. “We can change our behavior so that the virus has less of a chance to spread.” He said it was more important to avoid contact with other people in confined and closed spaces.
South Africa announced a cumulative total of 1,004,431 confirmed Covid-19 cases on Sunday night. That number includes 26,735 deaths in a country of 60 million people.
“One million cases is an important milestone, but the actual number of cases and deaths is almost certainly much higher,” Lessells said.
“We have seen the new variant spread rapidly,” he said, noting that genomic sequencing shows that it has become dominant in the coastal provinces of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. It is not yet certain whether the variant is so dominant in the inner province of Gauteng, which includes Johannesburg and is the most populous province in the country.
“As people come back from vacations in the coastal areas, we can expect the variant to be brought in,” Lessells said. “We can also expect travelers to take the variant across borders to other African countries.”
Mediclinic International, one of the country’s top three private hospital networks, said Sunday that a severe spike in cases had put great pressure on available healthcare resources, including the staff, equipment and beds to provide treatment. intensive care to seriously ill patients.
“The number of patients seeking care at our hospitals has surpassed previous numbers during the first peak and most of our intensive care and intensive care units are operating at full capacity,” the company said, referring to Western Province. Cape.
The Covid-19 virus mutation has caused it to bind more efficiently to cells within our body, experts say.
The vaccines have yet to reach South Africa, although Ramaphosa has said he expects 10% of the country’s 60 million people to be vaccinated in the first months of 2021.
South Africa’s seven-day moving average of daily new cases has nearly doubled in the past two weeks from 10.24 new cases per 100,000 people on December 12 to 19.86 new cases per 100,000 people on December 26. The death toll has also nearly doubled with South Africa’s seven-day moving average of daily deaths rising in the past two weeks from 0.25 deaths per 100,000 people on December 12 to 0.48 deaths per 100,000. people on December 26.
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