PHOTO: The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, with its spike proteins shown in red. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Wikimedia Commons

South Africa’s Health Minister, Dr Zwelini Mkhize, says the country is witnessing COVID-19 cluster outbreaks and needs to guard against a possible resurgence.

The Minister called for vigilance during a COVID-19 briefing, which outlined South Africa’s health response to the pandemic and its readiness to deal with a possible resurgence.

“We are identifying cluster outbreaks. These do not necessarily mean the whole country will go into a whole resurgence immediately.

“COVID-19 is very much with us. We need to encourage more people to wear masks, wash hands and avoid super spreading events,” he said.

The Minister’s call for vigilance comes as the country recorded 1 842 new cases on Sunday bringing the country’s cumulative cases to 751 024 and 20 241 total deaths.

With numbers increasing in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, the Minister said these areas are being closely monitored for increased activities.

While there are pockets of cluster outbreaks, the Minister said it was too early to call it a new surge.

“We cannot say we are experiencing a second wave. It now depends how we manage it. We can contain this by our behaviour, by practicing non- pharmaceutical interventions,” he said.

Noting the phenomenon of a second wave, the Minister highlighted that this pandemic is a dynamic one.

“Other countries are already experiencing a second wave. In some other countries, the second wave is higher than the first wave. These countries experienced their first wave earlier than South Africa,” he said.

At the height of the pandemic, on 30 July, South Africa ranked number five among the countries with reporting the highest numbers of daily new infections. South Africa has since been overtaken by other countries and now ranks number 15.

In a bid to avoid a resurgence, Mkhize called on the public to adhere to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as maintaining good hygiene, washing and sanitizing of hands and wearing a mask. –