new cases of COVID-19 Feather South Africa They practically doubled in the past 24 hours, reported the country’s health officials on Wednesday, who detected the version last week. omicron Doing coronavirus,
8,561 more cases were confirmed in a single day, a significant increase from 4,373 infections in the last 24 hours. Scientists in South Africa say they are prepared for a rapid rise in infections after the discovery of Omicron,
“It is likely that we will see cases doubling or tripling as the week progresses,” said Nikki Gumede-Moeletsi, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) virologist for the region.
“We could see a huge increase in the number of cases identified in South Africa,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press.
It is too early to say for sure whether the Omicron variant is responsible for the spike seen in numbers. But experts say there is a high chance that the strain, which carries mutations that suggest high transmission potential, is spreading rapidly across the country.
PCR tests can only tell whether the infection was caused by Omicron. Only a complete genetic sequencing can confirm the presence of the variant, which was classified by the WHO last week as “concerning”.
Laboratories in South Africa and Botswana are urgently doing genetic sequencing of cases to find out more about Omicron. The aim is to find out whether it is more transmissible, whether it causes more severe cases and whether it evades the protection guaranteed by vaccines or previous infections.
According to health officials, the test positivity rate in South Africa stood at 16.5% in the past 24 hours, up from 1% in early November. Since the start of the pandemic, the country has recorded 2.9 million cases and nearly 90,000 deaths.
Hospitalizations are also rising in South Africa, but not at the rapid pace of advancing caseloads. So far, omicrons have been detected in five of the country’s nine provinces, accounting for 74% of the genome sequenced in November.
COVID-19 testing in South Africa – Photo: AP Photo / Shiraz Mohamed