Friday, January 21

South Africa Concern Over Increase in COVID-19 Cases Driven by Omicron Variant


South African health authorities indicated that many of the new cases were due to reinfection of the virus.

Photo: Phill Magakoe / AFP / Getty Images

In South Africa, COVID-19 cases have quadrupled in recent days, generating concern in the African nation on how contagious the omicron variant could be, in what has been the fourth pandemic wave in that country.

Through a published report, South Africa indicated that on Friday 16,055 new cases of COVID-19 were reported, beating Tuesday’s figures of 4,373.

These figures, which have been increasing, have raised the number of confirmed cases above 3 million since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).

Today the institute reports 16,055 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, bringing the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3,004,203. This increase represents a positivity rate of 24.3% ”, reads part of Friday’s statement.

The NICD also revealed Thursday that some of the new cases were in people who previously had COVID-19 and were reinfected by the Omicron variant.

The previous infection used to protect against Delta, but now with Ómicron that doesn’t seem to be the case.“Professor Anne von Gottberg, a microbiologist at the country’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases, said at a press conference on Thursday.

“We monitored the reinfections in the Beta and Delta waves, and we did not see an increase in reinfections above what we expected when the strength of the infection changes, when the wave stops. However, we are counting an increase for Ómicron ”, he said.

But data from South Africa show that reinfections may be less severe, Professor Gottberg said. “We believe that the disease will be less serious“, He manifested. “And that is what we are trying to test and monitor very carefully in South Africa.”

He added that they will seek to monitor people already vaccinated, emphasizing that the vaccines will continue to help prevent serious illnesses and hospital admissions as cases continue.

These figures have been published amid the announcement by the World Health Organization indicating that they will deploy an emergency team in Gauteng province, in that country, which has been the epicenter of the Omicron outbreak, in order to help monitor the variant sequence.

In addition, provide technical assistance to boost the production and distribution of medical oxygen in Botswana, a country that has also been heavily affected by Omicron, said Dr Salam Gueye, WHO’s regional emergency director for Africa.

With information from CNN

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• Most cases of Omicron are mild or asymptomatic, indicates an expert from the World Health Organization


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