As South Africa moves to Alert Level 4, all gatherings are off the cards until 11 July 2021.

With infections continuing to soar as the Delta variant of Covid-19 drives numbers, South Africa has moved to Alert Level 4 of its risk-adjusted lockdown.

“Twelve days ago, I addressed you to warn that a new and deadly third wave of infections had begun in a number of our provinces, and was spreading. The average number of daily new infections was more than doubling, hospital admissions were rising, and deaths from Covid-19 were increasing by nearly 50%. As I address you this evening, the situation has gotten worse. Along with many other countries in Africa, South Africa is seeing a massive resurgence of infections,” noted President Cyril Ramaphosa in his address to the nation last night.

In addition to all gatherings being off the cards for the next two weeks, a ban on alcohol has been put in place to curb trauma cases at hospitals and alleviate the healthcare system. Meanwhile, curfew has been brought forward another hour, meaning everyone must be at home between 21h00 and 04h00.

Leisure travel into and from Gauteng, which currently accounts for 60% of all cases, is also not permitted during this period.

“With the exceptions of the Northern Cape and Free State, infections are rising rapidly in all other provinces. We also must remain vigilant in the Northern Cape and Free State, which may experience a second spike of cases if the new variant spreads there as well,” highlighted President Ramaphosa.

Virulent variants

In an article by Dr Sheri Fanaroff, a Gauteng-based medical doctor, she explains how the variants are named:

Alpha = First identified in the UK (B.1.1.7)

Beta = First identified in South Africa (B1.351)

Gamma = First identified in Brazil (P.1)

Delta = First identified in India (B.1.617.2)

“Tulio De Oliviero from KRISP, where genome typing takes place, announced that the Delta variant has now become the dominant strain in several provinces in South Africa, and has displaced the Beta variant (which originated in South Africa). Randomly selected samples over a large area of the country, show 48 out of the last 68 genomes typed, over a wide area, were the delta variant. The available data is about two weeks behind, and already shows Delta variant in 75% of samples in KZN, with data from Gauteng awaited next week, but expected to be similar,” says Dr Fanaroff.

While vaccines are offering some protection against the Delta variant, it is highly transmissible, and “there is a significant risk of reinfection if you have previously been infected with another variant. Vaccines are proving to be effective against severe illness, hospitalisation and death. Remember to remain cautious even if vaccinated while the community infection rates are so high,” concludes Dr Fanaroff.

You can read President Cyril Ramaphosa’s full speech here or watch the stream on YouTube.

During this time, The Planner Guru together with 3S Media encourages everyone to stay safe and vigilant. For more information, visit our Covid-19 resources portal.