230 individuals, including parents, support staff and children, from a school in Gauteng are in isolation following exposure to the Covid-19 virus during a rugby game.
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said initially there were four people that tested positive.
“Then a whole crowd of over 200 people had to quarantined. And then in the process, the following day the number went up to 11 positive cases. Right now, there are about 32 people that tested positive for the coronavirus,” said Mkhize.
Mkhize added that the fact that this happened during a rugby game shows that schools, similarly, have loosened up conduct.
“When you break rules there are consequences,” said the minister.
There is growing concern that South Africa could experience a substantial third wave of coronavirus infections. According to the department of health, Covid-19 positive rates are on the increase. The department confirmed over the weekend that it has also detected the presence of coronavirus variants dominant in India and in the UK in South Africa.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) also raised concerns about the increase in the number of new coronavirus infections in provinces like Gauteng, the Free State, the North West and the Northern Cape.
Mkhize confirmed that the Free State province has technically entered a third wave while Gauteng – the most densely populated province – the North West and the Northern Cape are seeing increases of Covid-19 positive tests.
Mkhize said the country has recorded 1 778 new COVID-19 cases and 11 new deaths in the last 24-hours.
The potential third wave is of great concern as it comes after a lot of loosened restrictions at schools, especially the allowance of contact sport and fixtures against other schools.
In April, the department of basic education (DBE) approved and gazetted some changes to Covid-19 regulations at schools. DBE spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said both contact and non-contact sports will return. He added that physical education classes and extra-curriculum activities will be permitted to resume.
In the gazette, DBE Minister Angie Motshekga said there will be a set number of people allowed during sporting and other activities at South Africa’s primary and high schools.
“The number of persons, including participants, referees, adjudicators, technical officials, volunteers, medical team, media or broadcasting team and stadium workers will be limited,” said Minister Motshekga.
She added that a maximum of 250 persons will be allowed for indoor venues and a total of 500 persons for outdoors venues.
“If the venue is too small to hold 250 persons indoors or 500 outdoors, those at the venue will be expected to observe a distance of at least one and a half meters from each other. Also, not more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used,” said Motshekga.
At the time, Motsheka came under heavy criticism from some parents because the re-opening of extramural activities and the allowing of contact sport were seen as super spreader events.