Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has warned that if people do not strictly adhere to COVID-19 safety measures during the festive season, the country is likely going to face a second wave of infections.

This as South Africa’s number of new daily cases continues to rise – with 2 563 infections recorded on Sunday.

The total number of cases recorded since the start of the pandemic is 787 702.

The Health Department says 38 more people have died from COVID-19 related illnesses, putting the number of fatalities at 21 477, as indicate in the graphic below:

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Mkhize says further safety restrictions need to be in place ahead of the festive season to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“One main advice I would give is yes, it is festive season – but please be careful. If you are enjoying groups, please keep your distance and use your masks. The sharing of glasses and cigarettes needs to be stopped. People need to prevent the spread because if they are going to drop their masks and not be careful, we will have to enjoy the festivities with a lot more restrictions imposed by ourselves because being careful is going to help us. But if it doesn’t work, then the whole country is going to flare up into a second wave,” says Mkhize.

Mkhize says his department will embark on a nationwide campaign to encourage South Africans to be cautious during the festive season as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the country.

“It can be a little bit tricky to start talking lockdowns and in this case it is not what we are discussing. I think it is important to bring in some restrictions to try and encourage particular support. For example, we have got areas where we can clearly see that there are super spreader activities that are going on. We need to start looking at the size of meetings that people are having. We have heard reports of parties with students and young people in various areas. There has also been a complaint from the hospitals that they are overwhelmed by the trauma-related to alcohol. We have to make sure that wherever people are in a public place, they take responsibility to use masks, sanitizers and all of that.”

There is also concern about the Eastern Cape, which has seen an increase of infections.

Nelson Mandela Bay Metro becomes the epicentre of COVID-19 infections in South Africa:

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