Avoid crowded indoor spaces, SAMRC urges as Omicron variant spreads across SA

The SAMRC 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.

FILE: Black Friday shoppers at Menlyn Mall in Pretoria at various stores. Credit: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) has appealed for people to avoid indoor gatherings due to the high transmissibility of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

With more than 16,000 new COVID-19 cases recorded in the last reporting cycle, South Africa has passed another grim pandemic milestone with more than three million infections across the country.

Gauteng remains the epicentre, driving the country’s fourth wave with 11,553 infections recorded in the past day.
But the number of new cases has also continued to rise in other provinces, with the Western Cape accounting for 957 cases.

With data showing its presence in all nine provinces, the council’s Director and Infectious Diseases Clinician Doctor Fareed 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.