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 positivity rate of 22.6%, announced the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service.
The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng province (41%) followed by KwaZulu-Natal (27%). Western Cape represented 14%; Eastern Cape represented 7%; Free State represented 5%; Mpumalanga and North West each accounted for 2% respectively; and Limpopo and Northern Cape each accounted for 1% of today’s new cases respectively.
South Africa also recorded 30 deaths and of these, 2 occurred in the last 24-48 hours. This brings the total number of fatalities to 100,407 to date.
24,554,412 tests were carried out in both the public and private sectors.
There was an increase of 120 hospital admissions in the last 24 hours.
Two Omicron subvariants driving SA’s Covid-19 spike – WHO
Two new subvariants of Omicron are driving an increase in reported Covid cases in South Africa, the World Health Organization said on 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 spread rapidly globally, is now the dominant variant, accounting for almost all new cases
Omicron is known to have several subvariants, with BA.2 being the most dominant.
But now the South African scientists who first identified Omicron point to two other subvariants of Omicron, BA.4 and BA.5, “as the reason for an increase in cases” in the country, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters . conference
In its latest epidemiological report, the UN health agency said the sub-lines “have acquired some additional mutations that may affect their characteristics”.
Tedros said on Wednesday that it was “too soon to know whether these new subvariants can cause more severe disease than other Omicron subvariants.”
However, he said, “early data suggest that vaccination remains protective against serious illness and death.”
With a total number of laboratory-confirmed cases of almost 3.8 million and more than 100,000 deaths, Covid-19 has hit South Africa harder than any other country on the continent.
The nation, where less than 45 percent of adults have received two Covid vaccines, has seen a sharp decline in the virus, allowing it to go two full days in March without reporting any deaths from Covid, for the first time in nearly two years.
In early April, the country lifted all Covid restrictions, but since then, cases have surged again, rising by about 50 percent in the past week, according to WHO data.
– “Essentially Blind” –
“The best way to protect people remains vaccination, along with proven public health and social measures,” Tedros insisted on Wednesday.
The WHO has officially recorded more than 6.2 million deaths from Covid worldwide since the start of the pandemic, but the real number is believed to be much higher.
The number of newly reported cases and deaths is 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 full story,” noting that reported cases were increasing in the Americas and Africa, “driven by the Omicron subvariants.”
The WHO also warned that the drop in global numbers could be the result of significant cuts in testing for the virus.
Tedros stressed that the South African findings showed that “testing and sequencing remain absolutely critical.”
“The BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants were identified because South Africa is still doing the vital genetic 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 comes next.”
Additional AFP report