Hospital group calls for major gatherings to be cancelled in South Africa

The Hospital Association of South Africa (HASA) says that recent lessons learned from large student events should be sufficient to persuade organisers of other potential super spreader gatherings to cancel.

HASA – which represents the country’s three largest private hospital groups Mediclinic, Life Healthcare, and Netcare – noted that the planned Ballito and Plettenberg Rage events took extensive precautionary actions to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Despite this, both events had to be cancelled due to the high number of cases reported, it said.

“We are sympathetic to the disappointment any such cancellations would have to people, in the case of the Rage events to matriculants who have been through an extremely difficult last two years.

“We are also sympathetic to the potential for revenue loss for businesses. However, infections are spiking and the positivity rate among tests indicates an imminent fourth wave,” said HASA deputy chairman Neil Nair.

Nair warned that vaccine mandates, while necessary, are only as strong as they are followed and observed. “For us, this is the key learning from the Rage event in Ballito. It is simply better that no super spreader events are allowed to take place.”

The 2021 Plett Rage festival has been cancelled due to a significant number of individuals reporting positive Covid-19 test results.

Organisers said on Thursday that an alarming number of positive cases were being reported to them by their potential festivalgoers. The event was scheduled to kick off on Friday, 3 December.

“Almost all schools set to attend Plett Rage have positive cases. Based on the trajectory of this virus, this is only a tiny percentage of what we are now certain will show up. The numbers are only going to increase rapidly,” the Rage organisers said.

“Although we, as organisers, have implemented the most stringent Covid-19 preventive measures, there was no way to preempt the devastation that the current surge of Covid-19 cases nationally would cause.”

The news comes after organisers announced the cancellation of the Ballito Rage festival on Wednesday – also due to a high number of reported cases.

Under South Africa’s current adjusted level 1 lockdown regulations, 750 people are permitted to attend indoor gatherings, while up to 2,000 people may attend outdoor gatherings.


Read: Meeting to decide on new lockdown restrictions for South Africa


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