southafricalogoReuters reports that Health Minister Joe Phaahla indicated on Friday that he would not recommend a relaxation of Covid-19 lockdown measures despite a downward trend in infections.

As a wave of infections driven by the more infectious Delta variant strains over-burdened hospitals and health workers, he pointed out that the country of 60 million had fully vaccinated only around 4 million people. “Our situation therefore remains precarious … We will be recommending remaining at Level 3,” Phaahla told a media briefing before putting his proposals to the cabinet. In a bid to stimulate the economy, President Cyril Ramaphosa last month eased restrictions to an adjusted “Level 3” in a five-level system, as infections declined. Phaahla said the national positivity rate, which gives an indication of how widespread infections were, had declined from a high of 35% in mid-July to an average over the last seven days of 19-20%. However, he noted that the World Health Organisation recommended the rate should be down to 5% before relaxations were considered.

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