South Africa announces overcoming Omicron wave without significant increase in deaths

South Africa, the country where a new variant of the coronavirus was detected a month ago, Omicron, has announced that it has overcome the peak of this pandemic wave, registering only a “marginal” increase in deaths, in the context of many other countries. infections, AFP reports on Friday, quoted by Agerpres.

“According to our experts, Omicron has reached its peak without making a significant or alarming change in the number of hospitalizations,” said Mondli Gungubele, South Africa’s government minister in charge of the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. is appointed directly by the President of that State. The South African official also assured that the government continues to monitor the evolution of the pandemic situation with vigilance.

Restrictions on night traffic, in force for 21 months, which covered the period between 0:00 and 04:00, are finally lifted on the occasion of the end-of-year holidays.

“Our hope is that these restrictions will remain lifted,” the minister said at an online news conference. “We are trying to strike a balance between people’s lives, their livelihoods and their goal of saving lives,” he said, noting that the South African economy is severely affected by the pandemic.

By maintaining the sanitary masks, keeping away and speeding up the vaccination process, which remains a goal given that only 15.6 million South Africans have been inoculated with the full scheme at a population of 59 million, the minister said. he hopes to never return to night-time restrictions.

On Thursday evening, the South African presidency announced that “all indicators suggest that the country has passed the peak of the fourth wave” of the pandemic and that there has been only a “marginal increase in the number of deaths.”

The number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths will continue to be “monitored hour by hour and if we notice differences” in their evolution “we will act immediately”, added Minister Gungubele.

The number of contaminations decreased by almost 30% during the last week (89,781), compared to the previous week (127,753). And hospital admissions have declined in eight South African provinces out of 9: “Although the Omicron variant is highly transmissible, the hospitalization rate has been lower than in previous waves,” the presidency said.

The Omicron variant, which has a large number of mutations that raise concerns about vaccine resistance, was first identified in Botswana and South Africa in late November. This variant quickly became dominant in South Africa, which led to an exponential increase in the number of infections to over 26,000 daily cases in mid-December, according to official statistics.

This variant is currently spreading in about 100 countries, according to the WHO. Extremely contagious, it affects both people who have been vaccinated and those who have already been infected with the new coronavirus, AFP reports.

The African country, which is officially the most affected by the pandemic, South Africa has recorded more than 3.4 million cases and 91,000 deaths. Less than 13,000 cases have been detected in the last 24 hours.

“The speed with which it grew, reached a peak and then the wave caused by the Omicron variant collapsed was astonishing. It peaked in four weeks and then plummeted in just two weeks, “Fareed Abdullah of the South African Medical Research Council (MRSA) commented on Twitter.

While many countries hit by Omicron are announcing new restrictions and record numbers of daily infections, the South African government has lifted restrictions during the night and nightclubs can resume normal operations.

However, the wearing of a sanitary mask remains mandatory in public spaces and the gatherings of people are still limited to a maximum of 1,000 people inside and 2,000 outside, respectively.

Photo source: Unsplash / Den Harrson

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