NICD: “There is a Sustained Increase in COVID-19 Cases in South Africa”

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says it has observed an increase in the number of COVID-19 infections in the country.

The country has recorded more than 3,900 Coronavirus infections in the past week.

The NICD says the 7-day moving average for new Coronavirus cases and the percentage testing positive in Gauteng, particularly in Tshwane amongst 10 – 29 year olds over the past week have increased. 

The NICD says it has also recently identified a cluster amongst the 20 – 44 age group at an institute of higher education in Tshwane. 

Acting Executive Director, Professor Adrian Puren says they are monitoring these trends to see if these increases persist. 

“Localised increases in case numbers (clusters) are not unexpected, however, it is hard to say whether the increases indicate the start of a widespread resurgence.”

Puren says previous waves have been driven to a large extent by the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants, Beta in the second wave and Delta in the third wave. 

“Genomic sequencing in South Africa has, to date, not yet detected the emergence of any new variants which are making up an increasing proportion of the sequences. ” 

Head of the Public Health Surveillance and Response Division  Dr Michelle Groome says it is difficult to predict the magnitude and timing of a potential COVID-19 resurgence. 

“However, we implore the unvaccinated to get the COVID-19 vaccine, especially the elderly and those with comorbidities.”

The NICD says regardless of potential new variants in the future, the importance of non-pharmaceutical interventions remains unchanged and individuals are encouraged to wear masks, practice hand hygiene, maintain social distancing and to gather in well ventilated spaces.

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