Gauteng is fast approaching a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic and could soon replace KwaZulu-Natal as the province with the most number of cases.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura, who chairs the Provincial Command Council, gave an update on the latest efforts to counter the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa’s most populated province on Tuesday, 12 January 2021.

In addition to COVID-19-related hospital admissions rising sharply, Gauteng currently has 50 000 active cases for the virus. Since the start of the pandemic, the province has recorded 338 071 infections, making up more than a quarter (27.1%) of the country’s overall cases.

“Active cases are an important measure of the pace of the pandemic,” Makhura said.

For now, KZN is the epicentre of COVID-19 in the country with over 90 000 cases of the respiratory disease.

Gauteng’s COVID-19 peak still coming

The latest stats from Makhura come as experts have also warned that Gauteng will see a massive spike in COVID-19 cases in the next few weeks. This is particularly because of people returning to the province after going away during the festive season.

“My sense is that Gauteng is unlikely to peak in the next week, we can expect perhaps in the next two weeks for Gauteng to peak and only then can we then begin to see a clear downward trend,” UKZN’s Professor Mosa Moshabela told eNCA recently.

The COVID-19 positivity rate is currently 30%. This means an average of 3 out of 10 people who test for the virus, test positive.

At the same time, the rate at which people are dying from COVID-19 is also on the rise. In light of this, the province is now doubling its efforts to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and pleading with citizens follow the health protocols as Gauteng continues to be a hotspot.

The province’s three metros, City of Ekurhuleni, City of Johannesburg and City of Tshwane are also on high alert.

Makhura said in the last four days, the rate of increases has surpassed the highest daily infections during the first peak, reaching close to 7 000 new cases on Friday last week. 

“We have doubled the numbers in the last seven days and is double to what it was a week before,” he said.

Makhura said they are also seeing many young people who are being hospitalised due to COVID-19 complications.

“We haven’t seen the impact of level 3 restrictions, the scientists say it takes a little bit of time to start seeing a positive impact,” he said.

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Presh JM Reporter

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