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Covid-19: Omicron storm is here, with increase of 400% of cases in Gauteng

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Dec 10, 2021

Cape Town - Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla says cases of Omicron continue to rise across the country, with Gauteng recording an increase of 400% in the cases and hospital admissions now sitting at 200%.

On Friday, Phaahla said scientists were conducting more studies on the variant after it emerged that the majority of those who were admitted to hospital had not been vaccinated.

He also called on the people not to panic as the government tried to contain the spread of the variant.

The World Health Organization has also reported that Omicron has spread to 57 countries.

Phaahla also said there was also a decrease in cases of children under the age of five years. While hospital admission of under five-year-old children was recorded at 21%, this has now dropped to about 8%.

But the minister said the cases were continuing to spread in Gauteng and other provinces.

“Weekly cases in Gauteng province have increased by more than 400% for the week of 4 December compared to the previous week. A very significant increase just in that week, while hospital admissions increased by more than 200%,” said Phaahla.

But he insisted Omicron has multiple mutations, which remained a concern to scientists.

The scientists were still studying its transmissibility, but already they can see the significant difference between the Delta variant and Omicron.

There has been an increase in the number of people who are testing positive.

Other studies were also being done on its severity. But there was a low number of patients with severe disease.

It was still early days, but things looked promising in terms of mild cases in hospitals.

He said understanding how severe Omicron is will take a few more weeks.