Health Secretary Joe Phaahla said his department has seen a sharp increase in daily infections, hospitalizations and deaths following the lifting of the national state of emergency. Since then, however, cases have dropped significantly.
Phaahla spoke at a press conference on Thursday, announcing the lifting of restrictions on mandatory mask wearing and limiting gatherings.
He said that in late April and for most of May there was a clear spike in daily infections across the country, leading to increases in hospital admissions and reported daily deaths.
“Daily infections increased by just 250 cases per day in early April to nearly 8,000 on May 15, 2022, with the positivity rate hitting 22% on May 1 and 20% on May 15,” Phaahla said.
That was around the time , which experts believe SA was in the fifth wave of infections.
The minister said the rapid spread of Covid-19 during Omicron-dominated waves had led to increased natural immunity.