Noticeable change in Covid-19 trajectory, warns expert

Noticeable change in Covid-19 trajectory, warns expert

Senior Researcher at Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Dr Ridhwaan Suliman warns that the number of new Covid-19 cases in South Africa are increasing by 2% week-on-week.

Coronavirus test
Coronavirus test/ iStock

The majority of cases come from cluster outbreaks in the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape.

Suliman says the number of positive cases started to rise two weeks after government moved the country down to level 1 of the lockdown.

He says the reopening of schools are among the reason’s cases have risen in the Northern Cape.

“The flat-lining and slight increase in confirmed cases and positivity rates nationally are not drastic, we have seen 2% increase week-on-week over the least two weeks, but the change in trajectory is noticeable and it is driven by local cluster outbreaks in certain regions. We do need to try and get on top of those cluster outbreaks and manage those before the spread gets even further.

“Over the last two weeks we have seen the sustained increase in the number of confirmed cases being reported in the Northern Cape and according to reports this has been due to an outbreak in schools within the Calvinia region.”

Suliman says Northern Cape has seen 40% increase while the Eastern Cape has seen a rise of 155%.

“At the moment we are seeing a clear change in the trajectory of the leading indicators, a number of cases and positivity rates over the last two weeks, that’s a clear change from what we were seeing in eight weeks prior.

“Over the last week, the last of confirmed cases in the Northern Cape increased by 40%. The absolute number of cases in the province isn’t large but it’s the incident cases.

“The other area with an increase in confirmed cases over the last week has been Eastern Cape with an increase of over 155% in confirmed cases compared to a week ago. The number of cases have been low for a long time, that increase is concerning.”

Suliman says the number of new cases have stabilised in Gauteng, Free State, Mpumalanga, Northwest and the Western Cape, while KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo are still seeing a decline.

But he warns that there are concerns over the upcoming Easter weekend and super-spreader events.

“There is a concern going forward, we have seen a change in leading cases and positivity rate, we have seen before how quickly this can increase. The concern is with Easter holidays that there might be an increase in movement which can increase spread of the virus and also covid-19 fatigue with people becoming less compliant can be a concern.

“We do need to overcome any cluster outbreaks before they spread further, we do need to maintain our vigilant and also at the moment while cases are low it could be a useful time to monitor cluster outbreaks, identify hotspots and get on top of those.”


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