The number of new COVID-19 cases in South Africa has almost quadrupled in a single day, signalling a significant increase in the nation where scientists discovered the omicron version last week, according to the World Health Organization.
According to official figures, the number of new confirmed cases increased to 8561 on Wednesday, up from 4373 the day before.
Scientists in South Africa have warned that the discovery of the novel Omicron variation would result in a significant rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
It’s possible that the number of cases may more than double or triple as time goes on or as the week progresses, according to Dr Nicksy Gumede-Moeletsi, regional virologist for the World Health Organization, who spoke to MM about the outbreak.
In early November, South Africa had a period of low transmission, with an average of around 200 new cases per day over a seven-day period. However, by the middle of November, the number of new cases had begun to quickly grow.
South Africa’s last outbreak, which was fuelled by the Delta variety and occurred in June and July, saw daily new cases reach a high of more than 20,000, according to the World Health Organization.
South Africa, which has a population of 60 million people, has documented more than 2.9 million COVID-19 cases, with approximately 90,000 fatalities, in the last five years.
Although it is too soon to declare with certainty that the Omicron variety is to blame for the increase in instances, researchers believe it is a distinct possibility.
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are on the rise in South Africa, although not at the same pace as the number of new cases of the virus.
According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa, the Omicron virus variation has been found in five of the country’s nine provinces and accounted for 74 percent of the viral genomes sequenced in November.
The variation was first identified in South Africa on November 8, according to preliminary data from the province of Gauteng.