COVID cases in Africa up by 93% this week, says WHO Africa

The Omicron coronavirus variant has now been detected in at least 10 African countries and in around 60 worldwide.

Picture: phonlamaiphoto /123rf

CAPE TOWN - The World Health Organization (WHO) Africa said that COVID-19 cases on the continent had shot up by 93% over the past week.

The Omicron coronavirus variant has now been detected in at least 10 African countries and in around 60 worldwide.

Doctor Richard Mihigo, Immunisation and Vaccine Development Programme Director for WHO Africa, said that the continent accounted for 46% of about 1,000 Omicron COVID-19 cases detected globally.

"The southern African region has recorded the highest increase with a weekly case rise of 140% mainly due to an upsurge in South Africa," he said.

Mihigo reiterated that emerging data showed that the Omicron variant may cause less severe forms of COVID-19.

"The data which looked at hospitalisation across the country between 14 November and 4 December found that ICU occupancy was only 6.3%, which was very low compared to the same period when South Africa was facing the peak which was linked to the Delta variant and I'm talking about July this year," he said.