THERE are fears that a third wave of Covid-19 is possible after a rise in infections in Joburg and Tshwane.

The new variant sweeping through India adds to fears while vaccinations in Mzansi are moving at a snail’s pace.

“We’ve noted the concerns raised directly with us and on social media regarding possible importation of the B.1.617 variant circulating in India.”

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said they’re aware of the variant circulating in India and others worldwide.

“We wish to reassure citizens that there’s no direct air travel from India and that all our ports of entry employ stringent containment procedures,” he said.

“We’re on high alert to screen passengers and test those who require further assessment.”

Mkhize said the B.1.617 variant hasn’t been detected as yet in South Africa, but the genomics team had told them they’d intensified surveillance.

“This is not only to ensure that variant can be detected quickly but to understand what the implications are,” he said.

“Meanwhile, we’ve consulted the ministerial advisory committee to guide us regarding travellers from countries that have epidemics driven by variants. Their advice will assist us to determine the way forward.

“Government will announce these determinations in due course.”

He asked for calm and pleaded with South Africans to continue to adhere to health protocols, tighten containment measures at ports of entry and keep a balance regarding economic activity.