Cape Town - Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla has confirmed that South Africa has officially entered the fourth wave, with more cases reported in nine provinces.
He said the steep rise in infections has been in line with earlier indications that Omicron would have more severe consequences than the previous three waves.
He said the country had in a matter of a week moved from 2 465 cases a day to 11 535 by last night.
They wanted to ensure everyone was now getting the vaccine to get protection.
The positivity rate has moved to 22% in the country.
The spike in infections had been reported in Gauteng, but this has now spread to other provinces, with more cases reported in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West.
Only the Free State and Northern Cape had lower infection rates, with the positivity rate between 3% and 5%.
Phaahla said the country was now in the fourth wave.
“Today, as we enter the fourth wave with a new variant, we can see confirmation of this warning. We have moved from a total of around 2 465 new cases last Thursday when this variant was announced to yesterday’s high of 11 535. A rise of just over 9 000 cases per day within seven days.
“What we can say is that we actually were alerted, as I indicated before this fourth wave, that it was coming. But we didn’t know how soon and what special characteristic the new wave would take in terms of whether there will be variants or what would be the characteristic of those variants,” said Phaahla.
“As can be seen from the steep rise in numbers over the last seven days and you will see from the presentation from our NICD team, the curve which depicts this rise in infections is very steep, which is much steeper than any other rise or curve we have seen in the previous three waves.
“What we must re-emphasise is that while our scientists and also those colleagues and medical scientists in Botswana we must congratulate for this hard work, while these are scientists who first discovered and reported this variant, no one really knows where this variant originated from,” said Phaahla.
He said, over the last seven days, there has been a spike in cases in Gauteng, which then moved to other provinces.