Prof Shabir Madhi, an infectious diseases expert at Wits University, said what happens after lockdown would be determined by what happened over the next three weeks in terms of testing, tracing, isolation and quarantining.
“As soon as you lift the lockdown, you get a rebound,” he said, adding that SA had not done enough testing in the early part of lockdown.
“In terms of reducing transmission, you have to identify cases in households and then put them into isolation and quarantine their contacts. Otherwise, those in the house spread the virus to one another at a rapid rate, and then go out and spread the virus back into the community,” he said.
“With us not having done early identification during the course of the first lockdown, we risk this rebound.”
Begg said educational institutions could be a hotspot for rebounds, and another strategy would mean a delayed return to in-person education.
“This would have a knock-on effect but it is a high risk to return: kids aggregate in big groups, as do university and technikon students, and we definitely want to avoid that,” she said.