Omicron is causing a sharp rise in Covid cases in South Africa

According to health officials, the new coronavirus variant Omicron has now taken hold in South Africa, causing a surge in new infections.

According to the most recent daily data, 8,500 new Covid infections were recorded.

This is nearly double the 4,300 confirmed cases the day before.

In mid-November, a top South African scientist told the BBC, daily infections were averaging between 200 and 300.

According to the World Health Organization, Omicron has now been identified in at least 24 countries worldwide (WHO).

According to Prof Salim Abdool Karim of the Africa Task Force for Coronavirus, the full picture will not be known in South Africa until “people get sick enough to need to go to hospital, which would be three to four weeks later.”

“But somehow the responses we’re getting from the ground are that there really aren’t any red flags – we’re not seeing it at all significantly different, we’re just doing what we’ve always done,” he said on the BBC’s Newsday.

The highly mutated new variant was discovered in South Africa first. According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the new variant was present in more than 70% of the virus genomes sequenced last month.

India, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are among the most recent countries to report Omicron cases. People have been infected with the new variant in other countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany.

Many questions about Omicron remain unanswered, including how effective current vaccines are at protecting against it.

The WHO has classified it as a “variant of concern,” with preliminary evidence indicating a higher risk of re-infection.

Nations around the globe confined travel from southern Africa earlier this week as more information about the outbreak became available.

South Africa’s foreign ministry protested, claiming that the country was just being punished rather than praised for discovering Omicron.

Later, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that blanket Covid measures were penalizing southern Africa.

In what is now the beginning of the fourth wave in South Africa, the rate of new infections is expected to rise, and the national health department reports a slight increase in hospital admissions.

According to the NICD, the majority of people hospitalized in South Africa had not been vaccinated against coronavirus.

There are no vaccine shortages in the country, and Mr Ramaphosa has urged more people to get vaccinated, claiming that this is the most effective way to combat the virus.

So far, roughly 24 percent of South Africans have already been fully vaccinated, which is significantly higher than the African continent’s 7 percent average but lower than the most recent European average of 54 percent.

Source BBC
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