File – President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the nation tonight on the latest Covid-19 infections . Picture GCIS
File – President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the nation tonight on the latest Covid-19 infections . Picture GCIS

South Africa stays on level 1 lockdown, Ramaphosa says Omicron identification was ’excellent work’

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Nov 28, 2021

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Cape Town – The identification of the Omicron Variant by South African scientists was excellent work, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday announcing that the country would remain on lockdown alert level 1.

“The early identification of this variant as a result of the excellent work done by our scientists in South Africa,” he said addressing the nation on Sunday night.

“The identification of Omicron coincides with a sudden rise in Covid-19 infections. This increase has been centred in Gauteng. We've seen an average of 1 600 new cases in the last seven days compared to just 500 new daily cases in the previous week and 275 new daily cases the week before that.”

On Sunday, a South Africa reported 2 858 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2 961 406, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said.

The institute said that the increase represented a 9.8% positivity rate, adding that a further six Covid-19 related deaths had been reported, bringing total fatalities to 89 797.

Ramaphosa said that epidemiologists have in the past warned that a fourth wave would hit the country in December, and said that it could be true if the cases continued to rise.

“If cases continue to climb we can expect to enter the fourth wave within the next few weeks, if not sooner. This should come as no surprise as epidemiologists have told us that we should expect a fourth wave in early December,” he said.

“Vaccination is by far the most important way to protect yourself and those around you against the army crown variant to reduce the impact of the fourth wave and to help restore the social freedoms we all yearn for.”

Earlier this week, a group of medical experts detected a group of related SaRS-CoV-2 viruses named the B.1.1.529 lineage.

B.1.1.529 has been detected in Gauteng at relatively high frequency, with >70 percent of genomes sequenced from specimens collected from November 14 to 23 belonging to this lineage.

The NICD said there were currently no unusual symptoms following infection with the B.1.1.529 variant. As with other variants, some individuals are asymptomatic.

It was named Omicron and the World Health Organization has declared it a “variant of concern”.


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