What to expect from the upcoming fifth wave of Covid-19 in South Africa

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

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

This comes after Covid-19 infections have increased in the past two weeks.

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

Blocking restrictions

The impending fifth wave has led some South Africans to worry about the return of tight blockade restrictions.

READ ALSO: South Africa on the verge of the fifth wave of Covid-19 – Phaahla

Absa economists, in a research note on Tuesday, said tightening lockdown restrictions are unlikely.

However, the fifth wave is likely to have an economic impact on South Africa.

“While we believe the government will not seek to tighten lockdown restrictions, an increase in Covid-19 cases could still moderately weigh on economic activity through the confidence channel and delay the recovery of tourism-related industries,” Absa note light.

The rise in infections could, however, lead the government to change the current lockdown rules.

This could include measures such as changing the rules on mask use and social distancing.

While Absa economists have said the impending waves of Covid-19 will have a marginal impact on the country, they are more concerned about the load reduction.

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