SAMRC urges caution as over 16k new COVID infections recorded
South Africa has recorded 16,366 new daily COVID-19 cases in the last 24-hour review cycle. There are 75,130 active cases reported across the country.
Twenty-one people have succumbed to the virus and the death toll is at 89,965 so far.
Gauteng still remains the epicentre of the infection rate with more than 11,000 infections reported.
The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) said the country’s capital has been thrown into turmoil by the emergence of the Omicron variant.
Figures from the province show a staggering rise in hospitalizations at the Steve Biko Academic and Tshwane District hospitals.
The first cases of Omicron were detected in the Tshwane District and coincided with the sharp rise in new infections signalling the onset of the fourth wave in Gauteng.
The weekly number of cases has mushroomed over several weeks.
The SAMRC’s Doctor Fareed Abdullah said a new surge and even a new variant were expected but the speed with which Omicron hit came as a shock.
“Because this is more infectious and the rates are going up so fast, people must be much more careful about masking up.”
Abdullah has raised concern over the sharp increase in the number of positive cases in Gauteng, specifically Tshwane.
“It’s clear that the virus infections in this fourth wave is faster than the previous waves. But we have not yet seen the increase in deaths.”
Abdullah said while they were still trying to understand the Omicron variant, for the most part, it’s up to individuals to protect themselves and their loved ones.
In other news – Eskom urges South Africans to use less electricity as load shedding underway
Eskom is urging South Africans to reduce their electricity usage to help lessen the strain in its power grid.
The utility has lost the ability to generate over 21,000 megawatts at several power plants. Learn more