WHO warns South Africa to prepare for additional Omicron variants

The World Health Organization (WHO) in Africa has urged the leaders of the SADC region to step up their response to the Covid-19 pandemic as the number of infections soar.

On Thursday, National Health Minister Joe Fahla confirmed that South Africa had entered its fifth wave with infections from the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 lines.

Fifth wave of Covid-19 in South Africa

Operated by Omicron sub-variants

According to health experts, the fifth wave may resemble the previous wave in size and severity.

“Since the beginning of April, more than 1,300 cases of Omicron BA.2 subvariant and more than 700 BA.4 subvariant cases have been reported in South Africa alone,” said the WHO Regional Director for Africa. Abdou Salam Guye.

The African continent recorded 52,878 cases of Covid-19 in the week ending May 8, up 38% from the week before. Power FM reports.

Spike in new Covid-19 cases

“This is largely driven by the surge in South Africa, which accounts for 87% of reported cases on the continent, interrupting a two-month decline in reported infections,” Guie said.

The fifth wave of infections comes amid easing of public health and social protection measures that were taken at the beginning of the pandemic.

Health officials are urging South Africans to get shots and boosters to prevent high transmission rates.

Mortality and hospitalization against the backdrop of the fifth wave

Although the fifth wave was probably less severe, according to vaccinology professor Shabir Madhi, SA has been the fifth wave in the last two to three weeks, especially Gauteng as it may have peaked with the recent resurgence.

“Most importantly, hospitalization and death rates have increased, but they are significantly lower than the first three waves, and possibly even lower than the micron wave,” he said.

Madhi also said the resurgence should be interpreted with caution, especially when trying to draw comparisons to the past, and while there was no need to panic, the focus should be on ensuring that at least 90% of people over 50 are vaccinated with three vaccines. doses.

Collected Narissa Subramoniaadditional reporting Reitumetse Makvea.

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