WHO warns SA to prepare for further variants of Omicron

The World Health Organization (WHO) in Africa has urged leaders in the SADC region to strengthen their response to the Covid-19 pandemic, as infections increase dramatically.

On Thursday, National Health Minister Joe Phaahla confirmed that South Africa has entered the fifth wave, with lineage-led infections from Omicron BA.4 and BA.5.

Fifth wave of Covid-19 in SA

Driven by Omicron subvariants

The fifth wave could resemble the previous one in size and severity, according to health experts.

“Since the beginning of April, South Africa alone has recorded more than 1,300 cases of the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant and over 700 cases of the BA.4 sub-variant,” said the WHO Africa Regional Director. Abdou Salam Gueye.

The African continent recorded 52,878 cases of Covid-19 in the week ending May 8, which represents a 38% increase from the week before, reports Power FM.

Resurgence of new Covid-19 cases

“This is largely due to a peak in southern Africa, which accounted for 87 percent of the continent’s registered cases, interrupting a two-month drop in registered infections,” Gueye said.

The fifth wave of infections comes amid relaxed health and social measures that were implemented at the start of the pandemic.

Health officials are urging South Africans to receive their jabs and boosters to prevent high transmission rates.

Mortality rate and hospitalization in the middle of the fifth wave

Although the fifth wave was likely less severe, according to vaccinology professor Shabir Madhi, SA has been in a fifth wave in the past two to three weeks, most notably Gauteng, as it may have peaked with the recent revival.

“Most importantly, hospitalization and mortality rates have increased, but they are substantially lower than the first three waves and possibly even lower than those of the omicron wave,” he said.

Madhi also said that the revival should be interpreted with caution, especially when trying to make comparisons with the past, and although there was no need to panic, the goal should primarily be to vaccinate at least 90% of the women. people over the age of 50 with three doses.

Compiled by Narissa SubramoneyaAdditional reporting by Reitumetse Makwea.

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