- The new variant has been detected in 5 out of 9 South African provinces
- Various countries have imposed travel restrictions amid Omicron scare
- The Delta variant drove South Africa's third wave of infections
Johannesburg: The Omicron variant appears able to get around some immunity but vaccines should still offer protection against severe disease, according to the latest data from South Africa where it is fast overtaking Delta to become the dominant variant. Omicron, which has raised global fears of a surge in infections, was first detected in southern Africa last week and has prompted governments across continents to impose travel restrictions and take other measures to try and contain it.
The new variant has been detected in five out of nine South African provinces and was likely to be present all over the country, the latest official report showed on Wednesday (December 1).
Also Read: Toxic Mix Of Low COVID-19 Vaccination And Testing A Recipe For Amplifying Variants: WHO Chief
The daily number of reported cases doubled to 8,561. It was not known how many of those were Omicron as not all test samples are subject to genomic sequencing, but an official presentation said Omicron was “rapidly becoming the dominant variant”.
Omicron accounted for 74 per cent of the 249 virus genomes sequenced in South Africa in November, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), which is collecting data as part of a wider national network for genomic surveillance.
South Africa conducts genome sequencing on only a small proportion of total samples collected each week. The NICD did not give a total number of confirmed cases of Omicron infection.
(The) mutation profile and epidemiological picture suggests Omicron is able to get around some of our immune protection (to cause infection) but the protection against severe disease and death from vaccines should be less affected, the latest report from the surveillance network said.
The earliest sample in which the variant was detected was collected on Nov. 8 in Gauteng, South Africa’s most populous province, where Johannesburg and Pretoria are located.
Since then, it has been detected in Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga and Western Cape.
Also Read: Genome Sequencing Can Confirm Presence Of COVID-19 Variant Omicron: Expert
Earlier, organisers halted a music festival for young people after 36 people tested positive for COVID-19 at the site.
The Ballito Rage music festival began on Tuesday in the town of Ballito, north of Durban on South Africa’s eastern coast. Out of 940 people tested for COVID during the first eight hours of the event, 32 guests and four staff were positive.
It was not known whether the 36 were infected with Omicron or another variant.
The Delta variant drove South Africa’s third wave of infections, which peaked at more than 26,000 cases per day in early July.
Since the start of the pandemic, the country has reported close to 3 million infections and over 89,000 deaths, the most on the African continent.
Also Read: Omicron Variant Does Not Escape RT-PCR And RAT, Centre Tells States As It Asks Them To Ramp Up Testing
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.