What to expect from imminent Covid-19 fifth wave in South Africa

Citizen Reporter

The imminent fifth wave has led to some worrying that strict lockdown restrictions will return.

Covid-19 mask etiquette
An abandoned facemask. Picture: iStock

Although the fifth wave of Covid-19 infections hasn’t been officially declared yet, South Africa is experiencing a resurgence in cases.

On Friday, Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the numbers suggest that South Africa is on the brink of the fifth wave.

This comes after Covid-19 infections spiked in the last two weeks.

Hospital admissions and death rates, however, have not shown large increases, according to Public Health Specialist at National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) Dr Waasila Jassat.

Lockdown restrictions

The imminent fifth wave has led to some South Africans worrying that strict lockdown restrictions will return.

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The fifth wave is likely to have an economic impact on South Africa though.

“While we believe the government will not look to tighten lockdown restrictions, a surge in Covid-19 cases could still moderately weigh on economic activity via the confidence channel and delay the recovery in tourism-related industries,” Absa’s note read.

The increase in infections might, however, lead to government tweaking the current lockdown regulations.

This might include measures such as changing the rules around face mask wearing and social distancing.

While Absa’s economists said upcoming Covid-19 waves will have a marginal impact on the country, they are more concerned about load shedding.

“We believe that structural reforms in the energy sector will take time to alleviate power shortages; therefore, load shedding is likely to remain a constraint on growth at least until the end of 2023,” it said.