Close button
The Guardian
Email YouTube Facebook Instagram Twitter WhatsApp

South Africa warned of Covid surge after looting spree


Armed community members gather at a road block in Phoenix Township, North Durban, on July 15, 2021 set up to prevent looters from reaching the community. – Armed community members and vigilante groups have stepped in to tackle unrest in South Africa, taking matters into their own hands and sometimes stoking violence as security forces struggle to restore order. Understaffed and heavily reliant on private security companies, the police was rapidly overwhelmed when riots and looting first flared last week in the southeastern province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), sparked by the jailing of graft-accused former president Jacob Zuma. (Photo by GUILLEM SARTORIO / AFP)

Looting sprees in South Africa that saw thousands of people pillage shops and warehouses are poised to worsen the country’s already grave struggle with coronavirus, health experts said.

“We are concerned about the last three or so days of rioting in some parts of South Africa, it may exacerbate the situation of a very severe wave,” the World Health Organization’s director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said on Thursday.

“The government has to brace itself, and we in the WHO will be preparing to see an increase in the cases again.”


Recent days of unrest in the country has left at least 117 dead, as rioters ransacked shopping malls and warehouses in some areas.

South African virologist Barry Schoub, a member of a scientific panel advising the health ministry, warned of the state of the pandemic in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province, which has been heart of the unrest.

“KZN is on the upward phase of the epidemic curve,” he said Friday.

South Africa has the highest tally of Covid-19 cases and deaths in Africa, recording more than 2.2 million infections and nearly 66,000 deaths.

In the past 24 hours, the toll has risen by 16,400 cases, of which 377 were fatal.

The authorities are struggling with a lack of vaccines, public fatigue with anti-coronavirus measures and the rise of the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus.


Receive News Alerts on Whatsapp: +2348136370421

No comments yet