South Africa’s COVID-19 cases jumped by 19 842 on Wednesday, pushing the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3 071 064.
According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), this increase represents a 26.8% positivity rate, with Gauteng continuing to record the highest daily infections.
The latest data shows that Gauteng registered 11 703 additional infections, followed by 1 989 in KwaZulu-Natal, 1 899 in the Western Cape and 1 103 in Mpumalanga.
Meanwhile, 36 more people lost their lives to the virus, bringing the death toll to 90 038 since the outbreak.
In addition, South Africa recorded 374 new hospital admissions in the past 24 hours.
This means there are now 4 252 patients who are receiving hospital treatment across the country.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health, administered 133 695 COVID-19 vaccines yesterday, of which 27 860 were given to children.
The latest statistics bring the total to 26 781 642 distributed jabs since the start of the rollout programme.
Also, there are now 14 980 265 or 37.3% adults who are fully jabbed, while 680 952 children have received their first shot of the Pfizer vaccine.
As of 8 December 2021, there have been 266 504 411 confirmed global cases of COVID-19, including 5 268 849 deaths, reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The WHO said the Omicron variant has now been reported in 57 countries and the number is expected to continue growing.
However, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said certain features of Omicron, including its global spread and a large number of mutations, suggest it could have a major impact on the course of the pandemic.
“Exactly what that impact will be is still difficult to know,” he said on Wednesday during a media briefing.
Emerging data from South Africa, he said, suggest an increased risk of re-infection with Omicron, but more data are needed to draw firmer conclusions.
“There is also some evidence that Omicron causes milder disease than Delta, but again, it’s still too early to be definitive. Any complacency now will cost lives.”
Ghebreyesus warned that many who survive this new variant could battle long COVID, or post-COVID condition, a disease with debilitating, lingering symptoms.
“If countries wait until their hospitals start to fill up, it’s too late. Don’t wait. Act now,” he stressed.
“We are running out of ways to say this, but we will keep saying it, all of us – every government and every individual – must use all the tools we have, right now.”
The DG has called on countries to scale up surveillance, testing and sequencing, and share samples with the international community.
“Avoid ineffective and discriminatory travel bans. I’m pleased that France and Switzerland have lifted their travel bans on southern African countries, and I urge other countries to follow their lead,” he added. –SAnews.gov.za