South Africa Covid Cases Have Quadrupled With Omicron In Surge

Story Highlights
  • South Africa's Covid-19 cases have nearly quadrupled in the last 4 days.
  • Confirmed Covid-19 cases past the 3 million mark.
  • WHO will provide a surge team to assist Omicron outbreak.

South Africa: On Friday, South Africa reported 16,055 new cases of Covid-19, up from 4,373 new cases on Tuesday. Friday’s numbers put the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic above 3 million. “Today, SA reports 16,055 new COVID-19 cases identified, bringing the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3,004,203. This increase represents a positivity rate of 24.3%.”

On Thursday, reinfection of several individuals spread a fear of surge. “A previous infection used to protect against Delta, but now with Omicron, that doesn’t seem to be the case,” Professor Anne von Gottberg, a microbiologist with the country’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases, said at a conference. “We’ve been monitoring reinfections for the Beta and for the Delta wave, and we didn’t see an increase in reinfections beyond what we expect when the strength of infection changes when the wave stops. However, we see an increase for Omicron,” she added.

As the number of new cases continues to rise, the number of deaths appears to be more stable in comparison, with 25 new Covid-19-related deaths reported Friday, the NICD said. While only a limited number of confirmed coronavirus cases are being sequenced in the country as 249 cases sequenced in November, 183 were confirmed as the Omicron variant — equivalent to 70-75% of cases. According to the NICD, a total of 65,990 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has also announced they will deploy a surge team in Gauteng province the current epicentre of the Omicron outbreak to assist with surveillance, sequencing and contact tracing. WHO will also provide technical assistance to boost the production and distribution of medical oxygen in Botswana, where Omicron has also been found, said Dr Salam Gueye, WHO Regional Emergency Relief Director for Africa.

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