South African president issues warning against COVID-19 resurgence

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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - NOVEMBER 15; 2018: President of South Africa Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa is talking to media at the end of an EU - South-Africa Summit meeting on climate change, migration to trade and security, in the Europa, the EU Council headquarter on November 15, 2018. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)
File Photo: President of South Africa Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

With COVID-19 cases flaring up again in some parts of South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa warned against complacency about the virus in a television address on Wednesday.

“The first is the situation in the Eastern Cape, which is showing signs of a resurgence. In the last week, the number of new cases in the province was 50 percent higher than the week before,” he said, adding that with many people moving between the Eastern Cape and other provinces, particularly the Western Cape, it is a matter of time before this surge spreads to other parts of the country.

“We therefore need to take measures to contain the rise in infections,” said the president. “In response to the rising infections, we are implementing the resurgence plan that has been developed together with the surge team deployed to South Africa by the World Health Organization.”

He said that interventions include primary health care outreach teams to intensify contact tracing, daily community mobilization, ensuring the readiness of health facilities, and being ready to respond to possible clusters outbreaks.

“We are therefore also closely monitoring developments in areas that are experiencing higher than average rates of new infections,” he said.

Ramaphosa urged citizens to be cautious about gatherings with the festive season coming up next month.

“These activities, if not undertaken responsibly, pose the greatest immediate threat to our management of the pandemic. But we can avoid a second wave if we each play our part, if we remember what we need to do to keep ourselves and others safe,” he said.

To date, South Africa has recorded 742,394 coronavirus cases with 20,011 deaths.

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