KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala said the province is not in the third wave of Covid-19 infections yet, but warned against complacency which could lead to a surge in infections.
Zikalala expressed concern about infections in schools in the Umzinyathi and uThukela districts.
He said the province will respond by enforcing non-pharmaceutical measures in schools to reduce the spread of the coronavirus among pupils.
He said teachers will receive their vaccinations starting on Wednesday.
Zikalala and provincial health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu addressed a media briefing on Sunday in which he gave an update on the province’s response to Covid-19 and the progress of vaccinations.
Here’s what we know about how the province is preventing the third wave of infections:
More females than males infected
Simelane-Zulu said more females than males have been infected. She said scientists will investigate the causes.
“From the beginning of the first wave, we notice our numbers are not in proportion. There were more females than males infected. They are working on that research and as soon as they give us the report, we will make it available.”
Safety of vaccination sites
The MEC said non-pharmaceutical safety measures are being followed at vaccination sites to minimise the spread of Covid-19.
“The over-60s who come to our facilities do not interact in a manner that jeopardises their safety and their lives. The department has been visiting the sites and we have found all sites are adhering to social distancing.”
Zikalala said the province will receive about 110,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines this week which will be used to vaccinate teachers from June 9.
“We already have a database for the teachers who should be vaccinated as the process starts on Wednesday. They will be guided regarding which site to go to to be vaccinated. Some districts will open new sites where they do not exist.”
High number of infections in schools
Schools in the Umzinyathi and uThukela districts reported high numbers of infections among pupils. Zikalala said the provincial government is concerned and will continue to enforce Covid-19 safety protocols.
“On Friday, a school under Umzinyathi reported 16 positive cases among pupils and a school under uThukela reported 15 positive cases.
“We are considering opening vaccination sites over the weekend because teachers work from Monday to Friday.”
Province not in the third wave yet
The province is not yet in the third wave of infections. The premier said the indicator of this would be a 20% increase in infections over a seven-day period. He said the province’s preventive measures include testing all suspected Covid-19 cases and their contacts to ensure an appropriate response.
“Many people have been asking if the province is in the third wave. At this stage, we will say no. But in terms of our emergency warning signs, a 10% increase in cases over a seven-day moving average will trigger an alert.”