For the past several months, we have been able to enjoy life under lockdown level 1 with relative freedom. The number of active cases in our community has been negligible and our health care systems have been able to replenish and re-energise in preparation for the festive season. However, we are now heading towards the fourth wave with a rapid increase of numbers in Gauteng which is already spreading nationally.
This past Sunday, a national COVID-19 community meeting was held where Professor Barry Schoub and Dr Richard Friedland outlined their concerns, as well as the following guidelines for protection against the fourth wave and the new Omicron variant:
Those who have not yet been vaccinated should arrange to be vaccinated as a matter of urgency. Those who have not yet completed their course of vaccination should attend to this as soon as possible. Our medical professionals feel that wherever possible, our communal organisations should institute mandatory vaccination.
- Maintaining infection prevention measures.
Even with vaccines, as good as they are, they cannot guarantee complete protection from being infected or passing infection onto others. The following measures are critical at this time:
2.1 Insisting that participants are vaccinated;
2.2 Ensuring that correct mask-wearing is taking place in our communal institutions and at events;
2.3 Preferably holding events, meetings and other interactions outdoors, and where this is not possible, in a very well-ventilated venue;
2.4 Physical distancing should always be maintained;
2.5 Avoiding social gatherings with crowded environments; and
2.6 Avoiding touching noses and mouths, sanitising hands, washing hands on arrival and exit of any interaction and after blowing one’s nose.
We will update the community through emailers and our social media channels as events unfold in the coming days and weeks.