SAMRC: Omicron sub-variants driving spike in COVID cases

South Africa is seeing a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases, with Gauteng still accounting for most of the new infections in the country, followed by flood-hit KwaZulu-Natal.

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JOHANNESBURG - The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) said that while it was still too early to officially declare the arrival of a new COVID-19 wave, the next few days would be crucial in determining the pandemic's trajectory.

South Africa is seeing a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases, with Gauteng still accounting for most of the new infections in the country, followed by flood-hit KwaZulu-Natal.

New case numbers have been dwindling since February.

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But a new Omicron sub-variant has caused a surge in infections.

"Almost half of the infections are in Gauteng and the has been a small increase in hospital admissions and it's too early to say if there is an increase in death," the SAMRC's Dr Fareed Abdullah said.

Dr Abdullah said that warning signs of the fifth wave of COVID-19 had emerged over the past week, with the Omicron sub-variants responsible for the current spike in cases.

"It seems that the A.4 and the A.5 sub-variants are definitely what is driving the fifth wave. There is clearly an increase in the number of cases as well as hospitalisations," Abdullah said.

But while the rise in infections and hospitalisations are undeniable, Abdullah said that it was still too early to tell how severe the fifth wave would be.

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