Covid-19 update: SA reports 6,170 new cases and 30 deaths

In South Africa, 6,170 new cases of Covid-19 have been identified in the past 24 hours and the number continues to rise.

This brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3,808,368.

This increase represents a 22.6% positive rate, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, announced.

Today, the majority of new cases are in Gauteng Province (41%), followed by KwaZulu-Natal (27%). The Western Cape accounted for 14%; The Eastern Cape was 7%; The Free State accounted for 5%; Mpumalanga and North West accounted for 2% each, respectively; and Limpopo and Northern Cape each accounted for 1% of today’s new cases, respectively.

South Africa also recorded 30 deaths, of which 2 occurred in the last 24-48 hours. This brings the total death toll to date to 100,407.

24,554,412 tests were carried out in both the public and private sectors.

Over the past 24 hours, the number of hospitalizations has increased by 120.

Two sub-options of Omicron are causing a surge in Covid-19 in South Africa – WHO

The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that two new Omicron sub-variants are leading to an increase in reported Covid cases in South Africa, highlighting the importance of testing to track mutations and the spread of the virus.

A highly mutated and highly transmissible variant of Covid-19 Omicron, which was first detected in southern Africa last November and has rapidly spread around the world, is now the dominant variant, accounting for almost all new cases.

It has long been known that Omicron has several sub-variants, of which BA.2 is by far the most dominant.

But now the South African scientists who first identified Omicron are pointing to two other sub-variants of Omicron, BA.4 and BA.5, “as the cause of the spike in cases” in the country, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the press. conference.

In its latest epidemiological report, the UN health agency said that the subline “acquired several additional mutations that may affect their characteristics.”

Tedros said on Wednesday it was “too early to know if these new sub-options could cause more severe disease than other Omicron sub-options.”

However, he said, “preliminary evidence suggests that vaccination still protects against severe illness and death.”

With a total of almost 3.8 million laboratory-confirmed cases and more than 100,000 deaths, Covid-19 has hit South Africa harder than any other country on the continent.

The country, where fewer than 45 percent of adults received two Covid shots, saw a sharp decline in virus levels, allowing two full days of not reporting any Covid deaths in March – the first time in nearly two years.

In early April, the country lifted all COVID-19-related restrictions, but the number of cases has risen again since then, jumping nearly 50 percent in the last week, according to the WHO.

– “Essentially blind” –

“The best way to protect people remains vaccination, along with tried and tested public health and social measures,” Tedros insisted on Wednesday.

The WHO has officially recorded more than 6.2 million Covid deaths worldwide since the start of the pandemic, but the true toll is believed to be much higher.

The number of new reported cases and deaths is now declining globally and has fallen to its lowest level since March 2020.

But Tedros cautioned that “these trends, while welcome, don’t tell the whole story,” pointing out that reported cases are on the rise in the Americas and Africa “driven by Omicron sub-options.”

The WHO has also warned that the decline in the global number could be the result of a significant reduction in testing for the virus.

Tedros stressed that the findings from South Africa showed that “testing and sequencing remain absolutely critical.”

“Suboptions BA.4 and BA.5 were identified because South Africa is still doing vital genetic sequencing that many other countries have stopped,” Tedros said.

“In many countries, we hardly notice how the virus mutates,” he warned.

“We don’t know what will happen next.”

Additional AFP reporting