Concerns are growing as South Africa’s Covid positivity level comes close to record levels

The World Health Organization has raised concerns about the growing number of Covid-19 cases in South Africa.

While this fifth wave of cases is largely expected, South Africans need to ensure that they are fully vaccinated, said Dr Owen Kaluwa, the representative of the World Health Organization in South Africa, the City Press.

“We know a number of scientists predicted this would happen around this time. The discussion of whether we are already in a fifth wave or not is not that important to me.

“What’s important now, given the growing number of infections, is that those who are not vaccinated are doing so urgently. This includes those who are partially vaccinated,” he said.

Despite this rapid increase in cases, the country does not need to reintroduce lockdown restrictions, said health and social security expert Professor Alex van den Heever.

He pointed out that South Africa is following a clear trend of increasing cases around July and December, with a combination of pre-existing infections and vaccinations providing sufficient immunity for the population.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla published new Covid regulation on Thursday (May 5), but these are seen as a temporary measure ahead of broader changes planned under the National Health Act in the coming months.

Record levels

The daily rate of positive tests for coronavirus tests in South Africa reached a record on Saturday (May 7), rising for the first time in almost five months above 30%, as two sublineages of the omicron variant spread rapidly for the nation’s winter season.

A total of 8,524 new Covid-19 cases were identified, representing a positive rate of 31.1% of the tests, according to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases.

That is the highest rate since the 32.2% recorded on December 25, when a record 26,976 cases were recorded. The rise means that South Africa is close to its highest level of positivity to date. The record so far was 34.9% on December 14, Bloomberg reports.

The level of positivity is taken as an indicator of how quickly the disease is spreading through the community, as many cases are not detected.

However, only five deaths have been recorded in the last 48 hours and just over 2,600 people are in hospital with the disease. At the height of the wave in mid-2021 when the delta variant was rampant, hundreds of people died daily and hospitalizations peaked at about 16,000.

South Africa, which together with Botswana identified the omicron variant in November, was the first country to experience a wave driven by tension and the way it was played was seen as an indication of what was happening elsewhere. cow.

Last month, South African scientists identified two omicron sublineages, BA.4 and BA.5, and laboratory experiments have since shown that these strains can reinfect those who have already had the original omicron strain.

The current increase in infections and positivity shows that, although previous waves were caused by the emergence of new variants, the sublineages now have the same effect, said Tulio de Oliveira, who manages institutes for gene sequences in South Africa, on Twitter.

With further reporting by Bloomberg.

To read: Covid vaccine certificate headache for South Africa

Concerns are growing as South Africa’s Covid positivity level comes close to record levels

Source link Concerns are growing as South Africa’s Covid positivity level comes close to record levels

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