Fourth wave anticipated to hit South Africa mid-December

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Health Minister Joe Phaahla says while they can’t pinpoint when cases will surge again, they are keeping a close watch on the movement of people and virus variants.

“They have not reported any alarm in terms of variants. They always tell us that the mutations are happening, there’s always variants being picked up but the question is are they variants of concern and thus far they have indicated that not yet.”

Phaala was speaking at a media briefing on Friday morning on the government’s efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus, as well as the rollout of our vaccine programme.

He says as they prepare for the inevitable and health facilities are already gearing up. 
“The health facilities’ readiness plan is addressing areas such as oxygen supply of which the bulk supplier has finalised contingency plans.

Other areas such as bed capacity, equipment, PPEs and consumables are also receiving attention.

“A major challenge is retention of staff who have been employed on short-term contracts due to budget shortfalls. We are also thankful for technical support from WHO.

“While no one can tell with certainty as to when the fourth wave is coming, there is no doubt that it is inevitable, driven by movement of people and new variants.”