Grim estimates from one of the country’s leading insurers state that the COVID-19 pandemic will last right through until the start of 2022. By these calculations, South Africa would face ‘at least two-and-a-half more waves’ of disease – and it would give lockdown restrictions a lifespan of two years from when they first started.”
South Africa ‘not even halfway through’ pandemic
Sanlam Chief Executive Officer Paul Hanratty shared his gloomy predictions with Bloomberg on Thursday. According to the insurance mogul, the failure to procure vaccines at a quick pace as soon as they became available has ended any chance South Africa had of eliminating the COVID-19 threat in 2021.
Hanratty believes that a slow distribution of vaccines will mean excess claims shoot up next year, dwarfing those reported in the current financial annum. Sanlam is also preparing for ‘two or three more’ surges in virus cases and deaths.
“We are basically planning for two-and-a-half more waves. It is very realistic that South Africa’s vaccine program is not going to impact the current year very significantly. We estimate our excess claims for 2021 are likely to be two to three times the level of excess claims for the 2020 year.”
When will the third wave hit?
South Africa is, for the moment, sitting pretty in Level 1 of lockdown – the most lenient restrictions possible while the State of Disaster remains in place. However, predictions about a THIRD wave of COVID-19 have created a consensus that the disease will be resurgent just before winter kicks in. Zweli Mkhize, the Health Minister, issued a stern warning on Thursday:
“Everyone must remain vigilant and continue practicing health protocols. These include wearing a mask in public, washing hands or using a 70% alcohol-based hand sanitiser, maintaining social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings. The prevention of the possible third wave is all in our hands.”