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DEVELOPING: Coronavirus COVID-19 in Cape Town. Updates + practical tips

Provincial study shows reduced virus symptoms in 4th wave; we’re in lockdown 1

Last update: Friday, 14 January 2022

COVID-19 HIGHLIGHTS

  • BREAKING: WC study shows Covid appears to be weakening

  • Premier Alan Winde says vaccination is still best defence

  • Don’t wait for booster sms: you can get it today

  • Western Cape vaccinations at 4 563 935

  • There’s no curfew but restrictions remain on level 1

 

VIRUS IS WEAKENING, STUDY SHOWS

A study of almost 17 000 patients by the provincial health intelligence unit shows that prior infection and vaccination have weakened the severity of Covid-19 symptoms during this 4th wave, driven by the Omicron variant. 

The study, in which 46 scientists participated, has not yet been peer-reviewed and is in a preprint. The report stated that antibody protection from prior infection was estimated at 70%, and this was particularly strong “in poorer communities where social distancing is challenging”, TimesLive reports

This has led to a substantial reduction in severe covid outcomes in the 4th wave, compared to previous waves, with “28% reduced risk of hospitalisation or death and 59% reduced risk of death only after adjusting for vaccination”, according to TimesLive.

 

WINDE: BEST DEFENCE IS VACCINATION

On his First Thursdays weekly syndicated radio show, Premier Alan Winde said the province’s infection rates are coming down, but two parts of the province have shown a slight increase in infection: The Karoo and West Coast. He said the vaccination rates in those provinces also showed they are lower, and appealed to those provinces – and all people – to vaccinate. Vaccination is still the best defence; “there’s no reason to pass away now,” he said.

 

DON’T WAIT; GO GET YOUR BOOSTER

There’s no need to wait for an sms that states you can go get a booster, you can go get them now, a release from the province’s Department of Health stated. This applies to either the Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer vaccination. All you need to do is pop in at a vaccination site near you.

   

YOU CAN STAY OUT AT MIDNIGHT, EVERY NIGHT

A special cabinet meeting held on 30 December, 2021, lifted all curfew restrictions, much to the delight of all South African residents. The National Coronavirus Command and President’s Coordinating councils agreed that the fourth wave, driven by the Omicron variant, appears to be decreasing in new cases and is manageable. That said, Level 1 restrictions remain: people must wear masks in public spaces and the vaccination drive will continue.

   

COVID-19 IN WESTERN CAPE: THE SITUATION NOW

The vaccination drive in the province continues, with 4 460 737 vaccines administered by 13 January, 2022. The Western Cape government has recorded 25 563 active cases of Covid-19 by 13 January, 2022, with a total of 633 150 confirmed cases, according to the Western Cape government’s dashboard. 

Below are the Western Cape stats, according to the WC government’s dashboard as of 13 January: 

  • 586 494 recorded recoveries 

  • 21 093 deaths

  • 25 563 active cases

 

COVID-19 IN SOUTH AFRICA: THE SITUATION NOW

As of 13 January, 2022, the National Department of Health had administered a total of 28 782 337 vaccines. So far, the national total of reported cases stands at 3 456 808. Here are the official figures, according to the Department of Health:

  • 3 346 936 recorded recoveries, with a 92,8% recovery rate

  • 21 695 982 tests have been conducted

  • 92 989 total deaths

  • 106 883 active cases

 

RESTRICTIONS REMAIN ON LEVEL 1

Hospitalisation rates in the country remain relatively low and under control, and so level 1 restrictions will remain. However, people should wear masks in public and vaccinate, the government has urged. Numbers for people attending events have been greatly relaxed.

A thousand people are allowed to gather indoors, provided the social-distancing protocols are adhered to, and no more than 2 000 are allowed in outdoor gatherings. For smaller venues, no more than 50% of the venue’s capacity may be filled.

Read more on travel restrictions on our getting around update.

  

WATCH: DOCTORS DEBUNK 13 VACCINE MYTHS

Make an informed choice about getting the Covid-19 vaccine by watching Science Insider’s Debunked series, where scientists Dr Nipunie Rajapakse and Dr Maria Elena Bottazzi debunk 13 myths about the Covid-19 vaccine. Some of these include the dependence of herd immunity to avoid vaccination, receiving vaccines that carry diseases and more. 

 

WATCH: BOOSTER SHOTS, EXPLAINED 

Covid-19 booster shots have arrived in South Africa, which is facing the fourth wave, driven by the new varian omicron. Booster vaccines will be offered to healthcare workers first, as they received their first and only Johnson & Johnson vaccine over 8 months ago. Watch as Bhekisisa Health explains what booster shots are all about and why they may be necessary. 

 

THESE ARE THE BASICS TO STAYING SAFE

Here’s how we can stay safe according to the official coronavirus website:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. It’s still one of the most effective ways to keep the virus at bay.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Cover your mouth or nose when you cough or sneeze with a flexed elbow or tissue, then throw the tissue in the bin.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

      

HOW SOUTH AFRICA EASES IN AND OUT OF LOCKDOWN

There is a risk-adjusted lockdown strategy in place. There are 5 levels, which will work similarly to loadshedding. These levels are implemented based on the number of new infections and healthcare-system readiness. We are currently under level 2 lockdown. 

For the latest regulation changes that should come with a new level, read our lockdown news update.

 

By Hloni Manare

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