“With the recent easing of restrictions and the current holiday period, we just have to wait and see if it will have any effect on the infection rates. There is a lag period.”
HEALTH experts say it is too early to talk of a Covid-19 third wave as countrywide figures have not been tallied.
CSIR senior researcher Dr Ridhwaan Suliman said in a TV interview: “With the recent easing of restrictions and the current holiday period, we just have to wait and see if it will have any effect on the infection rates. There is a lag period.
“All provinces have flat-lined or shown slight spikes within the last couple of weeks. They have all stabilised, which is good news. There is certainly ongoing community transmission so we need to be really vigilant.”
As to what to expect from the Easter holiday infection numbers, Dr Suliman said: “It is difficult to predict.”
Meanwhile, as for vaccine authorisation, South African Health Products Regulatory Authority chief executive Dr Boitumelo Semete-Makokotlela said: “We registered the Covid-19 Vaccine Janssen on March 31. This registration signals a significant step in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.”
South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) spokesperson Dumile Mlambo said: “As of March 31, the Sisonke study had successfully vaccinated more than 250,000 health workers nationally ahead of the expected third wave.
“This will support the national health system so that it is in a robust position to respond to the surge expected in the coming months.”
At the same time political analysts have commented on the connection between the vaccine roll-out and perceived instability in the ANC overshadowing the focus on the pandemic.
Political analyst Ralph Mathegka said: “The ANC is in charge of government, so the internal wrangles appearing within the party certainly will not give confidence to what the party is doing in government. I mean, if you look at the roll-out of vaccines, clearly it is the work of a broken party.”
Economist Dawie Roodt said: “Even if there were no infighting we would still have to wait forever and a day for them to get everything done because of their massive incompetence.”
Another political analyst Ntsikelelo Breakfast said: “Some of the battles in the ANC have a negative spillover, but there are other complexities at play on a global scale that are also presenting challenges.”
Meanwhile, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town has accused the world of practising “vaccine apartheid”.
Preaching at the Easter vigil at St George’s Cathedral, Makgoba said: “Vaccine nationalism has already taken hold. The voluntary vaccine supply mechanisms, such as Covax, and the bi-lateral agreements used to procure vaccines across the world are failing.
“They are failing especially for the global south, where we can with justification say that the poor of the world are suffering from vaccine apartheid.”