South African Covid-19 cases rise as the new variant spreads

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The Omicron coronavirus variant has now become dominant in South Africa and has led to a rapid increase in new infections, health officials state.

About 11,500 new Covid infections were registered in the latest daily figures. This is a  great increase as the confirmed cases were 8,500 the previous day

Daily infections were averaging between 200 and 300 in mid-November, a top South African scientist noted.

Omicron has now been detected in at least 24 countries around the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Those who have already had other variants of coronavirus do not appear to be protected against Omicron but vaccines are still believed to protect against severe disease, according to top scientists from the global health body and South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).

“Previous infection used to protect against Delta but with Omicron that doesn’t seem to be the case,” said Anne von Gottberg, microbiologist at NICD.