Professor of Vaccinology at the Wits University Shabir Madhi says there is not enough evidence to suggest that pregnant women are more prone to contracting COVID-19.
The number of confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in South Africa has risen to 85.
Madhi says chances of infection are the same for everyone whether you are pregnant, are a child or an adult.
He says the important question is whether pregnant women who become infected are more likely to end up developing severe disease from coronavirus or not.
Madhi encouraged pregnant women to get the normal flu vaccine to protect themselves from getting influenza during the coronavirus outbreak.
He says, “If you are living with an individual who is infected with coronavirus, your risk of being infected is 68%. If you are in an area where coronavirus is circulating in the community your risk of being infected is roughly at about 1%. Right now there isn’t any evidence to indicate that pregnancy is a risk factor for severe disease from the coronavirus but with that being said there is concern that the number of pregnant women that have been infected is not high enough to make firm conclusions on that front.”
Western Cape hospital protocols
The Western Cape Department of Health has announced new visiting protocols at government hospitals, in an attempt to limit the risk of coronavirus transmission.
Spokesperson Maret Lesch says the measures include social distancing to minimize contact between patients and visitors.
Lesch says, “Adjustments during visiting hours may include reducing visiting times, one visitor per patient, no patient rotation, no under 12-years-old. We ask the public for their support in responding to new visitation protocols as these are put into place to ensure everyone’s safety. Visitors are asked to contact the hospital in advance to enquire about its visiting times.”
Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town has closed all its public facilities as part of efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Services, Zahid Badroodien says the measures are in response to the President’s call to limit social contact to a minimum.
He added that all statutory meetings except the council meeting to pass the city’s budget at the end of the month have been cancelled.