Expert raises concern about accuracy of data used to track COVID-19 in SA

Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation at 7 pm on Wednesday where it is hoped he will also open the country’s international borders.

FILE: A Doctors Without Border (MSF) nurse (C) performs a COVID-19 coronavirus test during a Ministry of Health screening and testing drive in the Wolhuter men’s hostel in Jeppestown district of Johannesburg, on 14 May 2020. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – With speculation rife that President Cyril Ramaphosa will announce an easing of lockdown regulations, there are concerns that data used to track the COVID-19 pandemic may have not been entirely accurate.

Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation at 7 pm on Wednesday where it is hoped he will also open the country’s international borders.

South Africa has seen a steady decline in new COVID-19 infections, but experts have warned this does not mean the country is out of the woods.

The President has met with his coordinating council and the national coronavirus command council ahead of Wednesday’s address where he calved out a possible economic recovery plan for the country.

Professor Alex van der Heever is a researcher who has been involved in the modelling for the epidemic.

He said a lot of the data around the pandemic and the trends seen require an explanation: “There’s a lot that’s been invisible and I think we will have to do quite a lot of analysis of what’s actually occurred because the excess deaths remain an area of concern and an explanation is required around those as to whether or not they are COVID specific. The hospital system wasn’t as impacted, but the question is, did people actually get to hospital?”

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