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Health experts say future Covid variants could be weaker than Omicron

According to epidemiologist, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, future variants could be much weaker than the current variant, Omicron. Picture: Mahesh Kumar AP

According to epidemiologist, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, future variants could be much weaker than the current variant, Omicron. Picture: Mahesh Kumar AP

Published Jan 11, 2022

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Durban - As the country continues to observe a downward spiral in the number of new Covid-19 cases, experts believe the worst of the variants might be over.

According to epidemiologist, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, future variants could be much weaker than the current variant, Omicron.

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Speaking to the SABC, Karim said while new variants could continue to evolve, they will cause less severe disease.

“What we are likely to see now with future variants is that in order to displace Omicron it’s going to have to be able to spread even faster. But just based on what we can see now, we can expect that future variants in order to beat Omicron would have to in all likelihood be less severe,” Karim said.

Saturday Star reported that a fifth Covid-19 wave is likely but it is still too early to predict exactly when.

According to Deputy vice-chancellor for research and innovation at North-West University and member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Vaccines, Professor Jeffrey Mphahlele, the country is likely to experience additional waves with the fifth wave expected around the winter season.

Currently, a total of 40 487 tests were conducted in the last 24hrs, with 5 668 new cases, which represents a 14% positivity rate.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases reported that a further 119 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 92 649 to date.

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Meanwhile, pop-up vaccination sites have been set up along major travelling routes and at borders.

Department of Health spokesperson, Foster Mohale, said these pop-up vaccination sites are part of department’s broader outreach strategy meant to take health services closer to the people to reduce transport costs and time by increasing access to Covid-19 vaccine.

The campaign started on 23 December 2021 and these designated vaccination sites will continue to provide vaccination service until 15 January 2022 at two of our main border posts, namely; Lebombo border (Mpumalanga/Mozambique) and Ficksburg Border (Free State/Lesotho).

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“The border post based vaccination sites will enable people to conveniently vaccinate while waiting in the queue to cross the border,” Mohale said.

There is no need to register beforehand and anyone living in the area where these border posts are situated will be able to receive vaccination services including the booster shots, as long as they produce any form of verifiable identity document, passport or birth certificate, especially children between 12 and 17 years old.

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