Johannesburg (AP) – South Africa’s COVID-19 spike has taken the country to more than 1 million confirmed cases on Sunday and President Cyril Ramaphosa called an emergency meeting of the National Coronavirus Command Council.
According to experts, the country’s new version of coronavirus, 501.V2, is more contagious and quickly became effective in many areas of resurgence.
With the surge in capacity in South Africa hospitals and no signs of new surges reaching a peak, Ramaphosa announces the withdrawal of restrictive measures designed to slow the spread of the disease.
“We are not helpless in front of this version,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Richard Levels told the Associated Press. “We can change our behavior to give the virus less opportunity to spread.” He said that it is most important to avoid contact with others in indoor, enclosed spaces.
South Africa confirmed a total of 1,004,431 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday evening. That number includes 26,735 deaths in a country of 60 million people.
“A million cases is a serious milestone, but the exact number of cases and deaths is almost certainly much higher,” Lassels said.
“We have seen the new version spreading rapidly,” he said, adding that genomic sequencing shows that it has become prominent in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and coastal provinces of KwaZulu-Natal. It is not yet certain whether the variant is predominant in inland Gauteng province, including Johannesburg and is the country’s most populous province.
“People return from vacation in the coastal areas, we can expect them to bring variants,” Lassels said. “We can also expect travelers to take the borders with them to other African countries.”
Experts say that the mutation of COVID-19 virus binds it more efficiently to cells within our body.
The vaccination has not yet reached South Africa, although Ramphousa says he expects 10% of the country’s 60 million people to be vaccinated in 2021.
The seven-day rolling average of South Africa’s daily new cases has decreased to around 10.24 new cases per 100,000 people on 12 December in the past two weeks. On 12 to 19.86 new cases, the death toll on December 26 per 100,000 people has also doubled. In South Africa, there have been 0.25 deaths per 100,000 people in the last two weeks, with daily average deaths of seven days. On 26 December, between 12 and 0.48 deaths per 100,000 people are estimated.