Karim: SA cannot escape Covid-19

Karim: SA cannot escape Covid-19

Prominent epidemiologist Professor Salim Abdool Karim says South Africa is unlikely to escape the worst of the coronavirus outbreak.

Salim Abdool Karim

Karim said he fears SA is still at high risk of suffering the same fate as its international counterparts, despite governments efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet has mitigated the effects of Covid-19 by implementing several restrictions including the ban on international travel and more recently, the national lockdown.

But speaking in Durban on Monday, Karim said once the restrictions shave been lifted, SA may well be fair game.

“Can SA escape the worst of this epidemic? Is the exponential spread avoidable? The answer is that it is very, very unlikely. Put simply: no, we cannot escape this epidemic.”

“As soon as we end the lockdown we will have that high risk and that’s the issue we are grappling with.”

He added: “What we would hope for is that the number of new cases will steadily decline and will disappear and that's the end of the story. I'm sorry to tell that's very unlikely. As soon as the opportunity arises for this virus to spread, we are likely to see the exponential curve again.”

The country now sits at 2272 infections and 27 deaths.

Karim estimated that it might be years before a vaccine or treatment is available, urging South Africans to rather abide by lockdown regulations to deter the virus.

“If we allow it to grow unchecked, we will see what we see in New York.

“You will see thousand s of people trying to get to a hospital for care and we simply do not have enough ICU beds, or ventilators or medical care or any of that. We simply cannot provide that kind of care to so many people at one time.”

He added that government would also have to rely on its response plan to mitigate the effects of the virus.

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