South Africa, where the new Covid-19 variant was detected last month, announced that it exceeded the Omicron wave peak, with only a “marginal” increase in deaths, while many countries experience record infections.
“According to our experts, Ómicron reached its peak without causing a significant or alarming change in the number of hospitalizations,” the minister in the presidency commented on Friday. Mondli Gungubele, ensuring that the Government would remain vigilant against any contrary evolution.
The night curfew, in force for exactly 21 months, had been reduced to the hours between midnight and 4 a.m. On the eve of the New Year’s celebrations, he finally got up. «Our hope is that this uprising will hold«, Indicated the minister in a virtual press conference.
“We are trying to find a balance between people’s lives, their livelihoods and the life saving goal“He said, recalling that the South African economy continues to be severely affected by the pandemic.
Maintaining the use of the mask, distancing and accelerating the vaccination -which continues to be below the objectives, with only 15.6 million people fully vaccinated out of a population of 59 million – the minister hopes that “the curfew will never return.” On Thursday night, the presidency announced that “all indicators suggest that the country probably passed the peak of the fourth wave” of the pandemic, with only a “marginal increase in the number of deaths.”
New infections, hospitalizations and deaths will continue to be “followed hour by hour and if we observe a difference” in the evolution, “we will act immediately«, The minister insisted on Friday.
The new contaminations decreased by almost 30% last week (89,781), compared to the previous week (127,753), while hospital admissions decreased in eight of the nine provinces. “Although the Omicron variant is highly transmissible, hospitalization rates have been lower than in previous waves,” stressed the presidency.
Ómicron, which features a high number of mutations and significant vaccine resistance was first identified in Botswana and South Africa in late November.
It quickly became dominant in South Africa, causing an exponential increase in the number of cases to more than 26,000 infections daily in mid-December, according to official statistics. Extremely contagious, it affects both vaccinated people and those who have already been infected by the virus.
South Africa is the most affected African country, with more than 3.4 million cases and 91,000 deaths. In the last 24 hours, fewer than 13,000 cases have been detected.