Your Covid-19 questions answered
Where is the new Covid-19 variant most prevalent in SA?
The newly detected Covid-19 variant Omicron is prevalent in Gauteng and spreading to other parts of the country.
That’s according to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who addressed the nation on Sunday night.
Ramaphosa said the variant had more mutations than previous strains and was not linked to the Beta and Delta strains which were also previously detected in SA.
He said studies on whether Omicron was transmitted more easily between people and its impact on the vaccines are ongoing.
“The identification of Omicron coincides with a sudden rise in Covid-19 infections. This increase has been centred in Gauteng, although cases are rising in other provinces.
“We have seen an average of 1,600 new cases in the last seven days, compared to 500 new daily cases in the previous week, and 275 new daily cases the week before that.”
Ramaphosa urged South Africans to get vaccinated, saying it is the most powerful tool SA has against the virus.
“The first and most powerful tool we have is vaccination. Since the Covid-19 vaccines became available late last year, we have seen how vaccines have dramatically reduced severe illness, hospitalisation and death in SA and across the world,” he said.
The World Health Organisation on Friday classified Omicron as a “variant of concern”.
It said Omicron has a high number of mutations and preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection.