South Africa reported 16,055 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday, up from 4,373 new cases on Tuesday.
Friday’s figures bring the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases beyond the 3 million mark since the start of the pandemic, according to data released by the country’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).
“Today, the institute is reporting 16,055 new cases of COVID-19 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% ”, indicates the press release on Friday.
On Thursday, the NICD also revealed that some of the new cases were from people who had previously had Covid-19 and had been re-infected with the Omicron variant.
“The previous infection protected against Delta, but now with Omicron that doesn’t appear to be the case,” Professor Anne von Gottberg, a microbiologist at the country’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases, said Thursday at a conference. hurry.
“We monitored… re-infections for the beta wave and the Delta wave, and we did not see an increase in re-infections beyond what we expected when the strength of the infection changes, when the wave stop. However, we are seeing an increase for Omicron, ”she said.
Data from South Africa shows, however, that re-infections may be less severe, Professor Gottberg said.
“We believe (…) that the disease will be less severe,” said Gottberg. “And that’s what we’re trying to prove and monitor very carefully in South Africa. And so would those who are vaccinated, ”she added, stressing that vaccines will continue to help prevent serious illness and hospitalizations as cases continue. increase at a “rapid” rate.
As the number of new cases continues to rise, the death toll appears to be more stable in comparison, with 25 new Covid-19-related deaths reported on Friday, the NICD said.
While only a limited number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country are sequenced, Gottberg said, out of 249 cases sequenced in November, 183 were confirmed to be the Omicron variant, which equates to 70-75% of cases. A total of 65,990 tests were performed in the past 24 hours, according to the NICD.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization also announced that it will deploy a surge team to the country’s Gauteng Province – the current epicenter of the Omicron outbreak – to help with surveillance, sequencing and contact tracing.
WHO will also provide technical assistance to boost the production and distribution of medical oxygen in Botswana, where Omicron has also been detected, said Dr Salam Gueye, WHO regional emergency director for Africa.