Omicron spreads in South Africa as President Ramaphosa urges vaccination

WION Web Team
South Africa Published: Dec 06, 2021, 07:42 PM(IST)

A person receives a vaccine dose at a correctional centre in Johannesburg Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa urged authorities to get jabs as the number of COVID-19 cases showed a five-fold increase as cases rose to over 16,000 in a day last week

As South Africa battles a surge in coronavirus cases, reports claim hospitals in the country are bracing for more virus cases amid growing the Omicron variant threat.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa urged authorities to get jabs as the number of COVID-19 cases showed a five-fold increase as cases rose to over 16,000 in a day last week.

Ramaphosa warned that the rate of infections could rise to a level not seen earlier in the pandemic as the Omicron variant spreads across the country. The President conceded that Omicron was "dominating new infections".

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South Africa had announced the presence of the Omicron variant as nations across the world moved to impose travel bans on the country. However, investigations are still underway on whether the Omicron variant is more contagious than Delta which is the dominant strain worldwide.

Watch: Early indications suggest Omicron may be less dangerous than Delta, says Fauci

Reports claim at least 25 per cent of the population has been vaccinated even as the government has set a target of vaccinating 70 per cent of the population by the end of the year.

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South Africa so far has reported over 3 million COVID-19 cases with its economy hit hard due to the virus fallout.

Britain followed by several EU countries had moved to ban flights from South Africa, although France announced recently that it had partially resumed flights under strict restrictions, a move which was welcomed by the government.

UK Health minister Sajid Javid had said over the weekend that travellers coming from Nigeria would need to quarantine themselves in hotels as the country recorded 160 Omicron variant cases.

The Omicron variant has spread to several countries ever since South Africa declared it late last month. Russia reported the first Omicron case along with Argentina.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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