Home South African 5-week stringent lockdown helped, say experts

5-week stringent lockdown helped, say experts


The findings showed that the peak in active cases was likely to be between early July (in a pessimistic scenario) and early August (in an optimistic scenario).

Durban – Experts believe that South Africa’s stringent level 5 lockdown has worked. They believe that the level 5 lockdown, which lasted for 35 days between March and April, helped flatten and delay the Covid-19 curve. 

They said this gave provinces critical time to ramp up community testing and prepare mitigation measures for the expected wave which has yet to come. 

This is according to the South African Covid-19 Modelling Consortium, who presented their findings during a virtual meeting on Tuesday night. This followed quickly after the Basic Education Department announced that schools would be re-opening, with Grade 7 and 12 pupils set to go back to school from June 1.

The modellers said their presentation was based on research gathered from all provinces since the start of Covid-19 in SA. 

The panel comprised doctors and professors from the Modelling and Simulation Hub, Africa (MASHA), South African DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (SACEMA), Health Economics and Epidemiology Research Office (HERO), the Boston University of Public Health and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). 

Presenting an update on estimating cases for Covid-19, MASHA’s Dr Sheetal Silal said there has been ongoing, extensive input from clinicians, virologists, intensivists and epidemiologists to refine key model assumptions and parameters. 

Silal explained that from their research thus far, they have looked at the infection cases at provincial level. 

“The current trajectory of all the provinces, except the Western and Eastern Cape showed, were pessimistic. Other provinces have shown optimistic trajectories,” she said. 

Silal said their findings showed that the peak in active cases was likely to be between early July (in a pessimistic scenario) and early August (in an optimistic scenario). 

“There is also considerable variation in timing and scale of peaks between provinces. The variation will be greater between districts and sub-districts. 

“Under almost all scenarios, hospital and ICU capacity will be exceeded through timing and the extent is uncertain. This requires a flexible approach to recourse acquisition, with initial purchases now and additional orders as more information becomes available,” she said. 

Silal said the panel had looked at reported deaths and have calibrated their results to the data. This is done by simulating data across the various parameters. 

The experts said the Western Cape’s pessimistic outlook was attributed to the province’s cluster outbreak. 

You can study the presentations below. 

Estimated cases presentation by the South African Covid-19 Modelling Consortium: 

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize’s presentation: