Should all South Africans obey President Cyril Ramaphosa’s 21-day lockdown order to contain the spread of Covid-19, the first two weeks will see the virus increase rate slow down, according to a leading health expert.
Citing South Korea and China among countries where lockdowns in response to the coronavirus yielded positive results, University of Stellenbosch academic Dr Kerrin Begg said: “In two weeks we expect to see slowing down in the rate of increase of the virus.
“The government has to be applauded for having come up with two effective interventions: limiting movement and large-scale engagement of people through social distancing; as well as introducing a travel ban.
“President Cyril Ramaphosa has shown leadership by declaring the national state of disaster.”
Begg said people developed coronavirus symptoms only within 14 days.
A travel ban, said Begg, was “vital in slowing down the rate of transmission”.
“We should understand that 70% of Covid-19 cases in South Africa are referred to as imported cases.
“These are from people who came through our ports of entry from overseas countries. This a sizable number compared to locally transmitted cases.”
She said restricting contact with other people within South Africa had flattened the curve, making it possible for health workers at medical facilities “to buy time and cope with minimum patients”.
Compared to other foreign countries, South Africa was “fortunate to have a younger population being in majority”.
“Most patients in South Africa are being treated at home and very few are in hospitals,” she said.
Through the World Health Organisation, daily sharing of views by medical experts on how best to deal with the virus was “now possible”.
Begg added: “It is important that we learn from experiences in other countries.”
Densely populated townships and informal settlements posed “the biggest challenge”.
Brian Sokutu – Citizen
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