- The National Institute for Communicable Diseases says an increase of Covid-19 in wastewater facilities may be a sign that a new wave is approaching.
- It says it has seen an increase of the virus in samples for the week ending August 23.
- Progressive Health Forum convener Dr Aslam Dasoo said there may be a potential resurgence in October but there was no need for panic.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says an increase of Covid-19 in wastewater treatment facilities may indicate an impending wave.
“We are beginning to see increases in SARS-CoV-2 in certain wastewater treatment plants which may indicate an impending wave,” the NICD said in its weekly wastewater surveillance report released on Friday.
The centre said it saw increases in the virus in samples for the week ending August 23.
The report further states increases are being seen in Daspoort in Tshwane, Goudkoppies in Johannesburg, Hartebeesfontein in Ekurhuleni, Sterkwater in Bloemfontein and the central wastewater plant in eThekwini.
“These facilities will be closely monitored. The Omicron variant and its sublineages are present in wastewater across the Gauteng province,” added the NICD.
Progressive Health Forum convener Dr Aslam Dasoo said although the picture is still unclear, a potential resurgence may be in the offing as early as October.
“At this point, there’s a possibility that a potential resurgence may be building and manifest in October. The wastewater surveillance also points to this scenario. However, one must stress that there is no expectation of a resurgence on the scale of previous waves.”
Dadoo said the next wave is likely to be no worse than the fifth, because no new variant of significance has been identified. He said currently, sub-lineages of Omicron were circulating, to which “it is estimated that over 90% of the population has already been exposed”.
He stressed that vaccinations were still the best protection against the virus.
Dadoo cautioned against undue alarm, as the fifth wave was mild.
“Things will become clearer over the next two or three weeks, but there is no cause for alarm and certainly no need for any new restrictions at this stage. The most important thing for the government to do is to maintain the robust surveillance by the Medical Research Council and the NICD and to redouble its vaccination rollout, especially focused on the over-50s,” said Dasoo.