South Africa has identified 6,170 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, as cases continue to rise.
This brings the total number of laboratory confirmed cases to 3,808,368.
This increase represents a 22.6% positivity rate, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), announced a division of the National Health Laboratory Service.
Most of the new cases today come from the province of Gauteng (41%) followed by KwaZulu-Natal (27%). Western Cape accounted for 14%; The Eastern Cape accounted for 7%; Free State accounted for 5%; Mpumalanga and North West accounted for 2% each respectively; and Limpopo and Northern Cape respectively accounted for 1% of new cases today.
South Africa also recorded 30 deaths and of these, 2 occurred in the last 24-48 hours. This brings total casualties to 100,407 to date.
24,554,412 tests were conducted in both the public and private sectors.
In the last 24 hours, hospital admissions have increased by 120.
Two Omicron sub-variants driving the Covid-19 spike in SA: WHO
Two new sub-variants of Omicron are driving an increase in reported Covid cases in South Africa, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, stressing the importance of testing to monitor mutations and the spread of the virus.
The highly mutated and highly transmissible Omicron variant of Covid-19, which was first detected in southern Africa in November last year and has spread rapidly globally, is now the dominant variant, accounting for nearly all new ones. cases.
Omicron has long been known to have several sub-variants, with BA.2 by far the most dominant.
But now South African scientists who first identified Omicron are pointing to two other sub-variants of Omicron, BA.4 and BA.5, “as the reason for a spike in cases” in the country, WHO chief Tedros told the press. Adhanom Ghebreyesus lecture.
In its latest epidemiological report, the United Nations health agency said that the underlings “have acquired some additional mutations that could affect their characteristics.”
Tedros said Wednesday it was “too early to know whether these new sub-variants can cause more serious disease than other Omicron sub-variants.”
However, he said, “early data suggest that vaccination remains protective against serious illness and death.”
With a total number of laboratory confirmed cases of nearly 3.8 million and over 100,000 deaths, Covid-19 has hit South Africa harder than any other country on the continent.
The nation where fewer than 45% of adults have received two Covid vaccines has seen a steep decline in the virus, allowing March to go two full days without reporting any Covid deaths, for the first time in nearly two years.
In early April, the country lifted all Covid restrictions, but cases have since returned to growth, leaping nearly 50% in the past week, according to WHO data.
– ‘Substantially blind’ –
“The best way to protect people remains vaccination, along with proven health and social measures,” Tedros insisted Wednesday.
WHO has officially recorded more than 6.2 million Covid deaths worldwide since the start of the pandemic, but the real toll is believed to be much higher.
The number of new reported cases and deaths is now decreasing globally and has now fallen to its lowest level since March 2020.
But Tedros warned that “these trends, while welcome, do not tell the whole story,” noting that reported cases were increasing in the Americas and Africa, “driven by the sub-variants of Omicron.”
WHO also warned that the decline in global numbers could be the result of significant cuts in testing for the virus.
Tedros pointed out that the South African results showed that “testing and sequencing remain absolutely critical”.
“The BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants have been identified because South Africa is still doing the vital gene sequencing that many other countries have stopped doing,” Tedros said.
“In many countries, we are essentially blind to how the virus is mutating,” he warned.
“We don’t know what will happen next.”
Further reporting by the AFP