By Mia Lindeque for EWN
There has been a steady rise in COVID-19 cases in South Africa with the last week showing more than 10,000 new infections.
The cumulative number of cases is now at over 737,000, as experts notice a rise in the numbers in the Eastern Cape, the Western Cape and Gauteng.
READ: SA COVID-19 resurgence no surprise due to ‘complacent’ citizens
Scientists said that this could be attributed to super spreader events.
The Eastern Cape has confirmed more than 4,000 new COVID-19 cases in just the last week.
ALSO READ: SA can learn from Europe’s COVID-19 second wave, say experts
The Western Cape, once the epicentre of the outbreak, has seen an increase of more than 1,600 new coronavirus cases in the last seven days.
In Gauteng, the number has spiked with more than 1,300 over the same period. In the last seven days, 398 people have died, nearly half of them in the Eastern Cape.
ALSO READ: ‘Exhausted’ Swiss doctors reel as second virus wave hits
As the world focuses on the second wave of infections sweeping Europe, there are concerns that the resurgence in cases here at home could increase rapidly as well.
Murmurs of a second “hard” lockdown started last week, and grew louder over the weekend after KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said at a press conference that “looking at the statistics around us, we can now safely say that we are definitely going back into a hard lockdown – if there is no urgent and drastic change in behaviour.
“Let me make this clear: a second wave of Covid-19 will be stronger and deadlier, not only in terms of taking human lives, it could deal our economy a major blow,” Zikalala said.
Zikalala was talking about the increasing infection rate in KwaZulu-Natal, but he was backed up by statements from Free State health spokesperson Mondli Mvambi, and Mangaung metro spokesperson Qondile Khedama.
Last week, Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize and his wife both tested positive for Covid-19, and he reiterated his call for preventative hygiene measures and social distancing.
As Europe and the US both battle with a second wave, South Africans have started paying closer attention to the number of cases.
Minister Mkize said at a recent press conference that “our epidemiological reports are showing that in the country, over the last seven days there has been an increase of 9.1% in new cases. Similarly, over the last 14 days, there has been an increase of 10.7%.”
He said that in the last seven days, there was a marked increase in the number of new cases in the Western Cape. The province recorded a 42% increase in new infections, and that the government’s terminology defines this significant spike in new cases as a “resurgence”.
However, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday addressed the rumours during a question-and-answer session between the president and the National Council of Provinces.
He said that rumours that the country will be placed under another hard lockdown were untrue.
“I don’t want people to be alarmed. That is simply not true. If it gets there, I will advise the nation.”