The rand bounced back in early trade on Thursday, after again breaching the 16.00 mark to the dollar in the previous session as the Omicron coronavirus variant established itself as the dominant strain in South Africa.
At 0630 GMT, the rand traded at 15.9750 against the dollar, 0.47 percent firmer than its previous close of 16.0500.
Data from South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases showed on Wednesday that 74 percent of all the virus genomes it had sequenced last month had been of the new variant, as new cases doubled from Tuesday.
The data also showed that the Omicron variant appeared able to get around some immunity, but vaccines should still offer protection against severe disease.
"If evidence grows that the current vaccines will also work against the latest variant… the general risk-off bias is likely to be short-lived," analysts at Oxford Economics Africa said in a note.
The strain has been found in places as widespread as Australia, Britain, Canada and Japan, even as those countries rapidly tighten their borders.