Covid cases more than doubled in South Africa last week: WHO

TEHRAN, Dec. 09 (MNA) – The World Health Organization said new Covid-19 cases in South Africa more than doubled over the last week amid the spread of the omicron variant, the dominant strain circulating in the country.

During the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5, South Africa’s cases increased by 111% from the previous week, the WHO noted in a report released Wednesday. Roughly 62,000 new cases were reported in the country during the last week alone, CNBC reported.

The percentage of positive Covid tests are also soaring with almost a quarter, 22.4%, of tests coming back positive at the beginning of last week, a significant increase from the 1.2% positivity rate reported during the first week of November, the WHO added in the report. 

But the exact cause of these increases is still unclear, WHO said. The agency said it is “plausible” that it was driven by the spread of omicron in combination with scaled back public health protocols and “sub-optimal” Covid vaccination coverage in the country. To date, 25.2% of the total population in South Africa is fully vaccinated, according to the WHO. 

The data comes as the omicron variant spreads across the world with confirmed cases in 57 countries. South Africa and Botswana, which both detected the variant early on last month, account for 62% of omicron cases reported as of Dec. 2, a separate WHO report released Wednesday said.

Meanwhile, scientists across the world are scrambling to answer questions about the new variant’s transmissibility and severity.


News Code 181597


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