In a virtual briefing, led by Health Minister Joe Phaahla, Prof Salim Abdool Karim former co-chair of the Health Minister’s Covid advisory committee, said he is expecting SA will top 10 000 cases per day by the end of the week, and see pressure on hospitals within the next two to three weeks because of the rapidity of transmission. Karim said the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, has dozens of mutations, many of which are present in other variants of concern and are associated with increased transmissibility.

The detection of Omicron has coincided with an extremely rapid increase in cases and hospital admissions in Gauteng since mid- November, adding weight to scientists’ concerns about the new variant’s potential to drive new infections.

Nicholas Crisp, acting health director-general, said the government was considering rolling out booster shots, starting with older people, many of whom received shots six months ago. – Business Day (30 Nov 2021)

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