South Africa: The country may be entering a fifth wave of pandemics
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South Africa could enter a fifth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic sooner than expected, following a prolonged rise in new coronavirus cases over the past 14 days, Health Minister Joe Faala said today.
“What remains constant (…) are hospital admissions, including ICUs (Intensive Care Units), there is not much dramatic change,” Faala told a news conference. “There has also been a not-so-dramatic increase in deaths from an already low level,” he added.
At this stage, the health authorities have not been notified of any new variant of the new coronavirus, other than sub-variants in the dominant variant strain that is being released, the Omicron.
At the same time, Waasila Jasat, a senior fellow at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa, said there was no indication that new Omicron variants were causing a significantly more serious illness.
The country’s health system is currently under pressure over the number of hospital beds or stocks of oxygen equipment, Dr Jasat said after the health minister said the country could enter a fifth wave of the epidemic.
South Africa has the highest number of new coronavirus cases and the most deaths from COVID-19 in Africa to date, with more than 3.7 million confirmed cases and more than 100,000 deaths during the pandemic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Bureau for Africa said on Thursday that the rise in cases in South Africa was a major factor in the rise of infections on the African continent.