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

While a fifth wave of Covid-19 infections has yet to be officially announced, South Africa has seen a spike in cases.

On Friday, Health Minister Joe Fahla said the numbers showed South Africa was on the cusp of a fifth wave.

This comes after a surge in Covid-19 infections over the past two weeks.

However, hospitalizations and deaths did not show significant increases, according to National Institute for Infectious Diseases (NICD) Public Health Specialist Dr. Vaasila Yassat.

Blocking restrictions

The imminent fifth wave has raised fears among some South Africans that strict quarantine restrictions will return.

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

Economists at Absa said in a research note on Tuesday that tightening lockdown restrictions was 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, a surge in Covid-19 cases could still moderate economic activity through the confidence channel and delay a recovery in tourism-related industries.” Absa’s note read.

However, an increase in infections could lead the government to change the current lockdown rules.

This may include measures such as changing the rules for wearing face masks and social distancing.

While Absa economists say the upcoming waves of Covid-19 will have little impact on the country, they are more concerned about declining workloads.

“We believe that structural reforms in the energy sector will take time to reduce electricity shortages; therefore, declining load is likely to remain an impediment to growth until at least the end of 2023.