Omicron variant dominant in SA: Phaahla

Omicron variant dominant in SA: Phaahla

Health Minister Joe Phaahla says the Covid-19 Omicron variant has become the dominant variant in the country as coronavirus cases rose by over 90 000 in just three weeks. 

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He says it quickly displaced Delta, while in Gauteng it caused weekly cases to escalate by 400%. 

Hospital admissions, in recent weeks, increased by more than 200%. 

Phaahla says according to scientists Omicron has multiple mutations. 

These may affect its behaviour.

"The scientists have been conducting rapid research to better understand many aspects of the Omicron variants, including how well this variant transmits and whether it can escape some of our immunity.”

The possibility of festive season lockdown restrictions and the rollout of Covid-19 booster shots are still being discussed. 

"Our scientific advisers our government guardedness on what kind of restrictions if we have to impose, expansion on vaccination and also introduction of new treatments." 

Phaahla urged the country not to wait for the Coronavirus Command Council to make the call. 

He asked people to keep following pandemic safety rules. 

Phaahla says while they try to learn more about the Omicron variant - they can confirm it's highly infectious. 

"Those who have been admitted to hospital it shows up to 70 percent being those who have not been vaccinated. 

"The CPR tests are still very effective also in terms of the rapid antigen test also showed to be very effective in picking up this variant." 


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