South Africa has recorded a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections, the highest rate in three months, raising concerns about a possible major increase in the disease.
South Africa’s National Health Department reported 4,406 new COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period ending Thursday. The figure represents a significant jump from the 2,846 cases reported the day before and the previous seven-day average of 1,549.
Adrian Puren, executive director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases of South Africa, confirmed omicron as the dominant COVID-19 variant in the country, saying no new variant of concern has been reported.
He said South Africa was not experiencing a new wave of COVID-19, noting that hospital admissions remain low.
“And as you know, hospitalizations, in other words serious cases, dramatic cases that end up in the hospital, either in the intensive care unit or the intensive care unit, I think will be the more appropriate proxy if you will, or indicator that we have actually reached fifth resurgence, “Puren said.
When asked how the pandemic is affecting South Africa compared to other countries, he noted that omicron caused high case loads in the UK and US.
“We are clearly experiencing differences” compared to these countries, “but that is not to say that our next resurgence will not be like that,” Puren said. “And I think that’s the concern – that we really need to be prepared.”
He said that although South Africa plans to lift next month with restrictions on the national state of emergency adopted in the wake of COVID-19, other measures will be taken. These have been the subject of public comment.
“So I think we should probably see a mix of the things we had in place. So for example getting ventilation right. You know, I do not think people focus much on it. But I think it is an area., especially for indoor events, offices, restaurants and so on, it is absolutely crucial, “said Puren.
Opposition party shadow health minister Michelle Clarke said she would ask Parliament’s health committee to analyze the increase in numbers when it meets on Friday.
“It’s expected during this time to start seeing the resurgence because you’re moving into the colder winter months. People are gathering more,” she said. “So you would see a spread of COVID happening because the environment is changing. But if you look at the data that has been produced within clusters such as retirement homes, schools, etc., it certainly does not show the resurgence in these clusters yet. . “
She added that although the party, for the sake of the economy, is happy that the restrictions on the state of national disaster are ending, there had already been 170,000 objections to the new proposed restrictions. These include dissatisfaction with the continued capacity of 50 percent in places like restaurants.