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Omicron variant triggers COVID-19 fourth wave in S’Africa

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...Fear grips Nigeria, Ghana, others

South Africa is grappling with a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections driven by new Omicron variant which has been detected in seven of the country’s nine provinces.

  Health Minister, Joe Phaahla, stated this today in a media briefing that he hoped that the variant could be managed without causing too many deaths.

  But this has sparked global fears of a surge in infections, particularly in Africa where Nigeria, Ghana and some others have recorded cases of the new variant.

  According to him, South Africans should get fully vaccinated, because the country could manage the fourth wave without stricter lockdown restrictions over Christmas.

  “We can still manage this in a manner where government doesn’t have to invoke serious restrictions over the next few days if we all just do our basic duties of the safety measures, but also if more and more of us who are eligible … approach their nearest vaccination sites,” Phaahla said.

  Top scientist of South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Michelle Groome, said at the briefing the country was facing an “unprecedented rise” in infections over a short time due to Omicron.

  The infections were also moving from the younger age cohort into older people, she said.

  It will be recalled that Omicron has been listed as a “variant of concern” by WHO and scientists who are still gathering data to establish how contagious Omicron is, and severity of illness it causes.

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