South Africans have been warned to brace for a second wave of Covid-19 infections that has been blamed on a series of mass end-of-year parties held by students. Zweli Mkhize, the health minister, said on Monday that numbers of new infections were rising fast and warned that if the trajectory continued health systems would be overwhelmed. One event in the south-eastern coastal town of Ballito earlier this month that was attended by more than 1,500 recent school leavers has been blamed for sparking a massive wave of infections. Almost two-thirds of those present at the “Ballito Rage” festival – a series of parties, concerts and club nights – have tested positive, including hundreds who returned to homes many hundreds of miles from the venue. Authorities are trying to trace all those who attended the festival, urging them to self-isolate. Organisers said the event had received the go-ahead from local authorities, and that venues had been inspected by police. Similar events involving students in Cape Town were blamed for accelerating a second wave of infections in and around the city, a favourite with tourists. New infections in South Africa are highest in the 15-19 age group, statistics show.
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