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SA to retain level 1 curbs in Omicron fight

16 December 2021 - 09:52 By Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo
A residents of Alexandra is tested for Covid-19. File photo.
A residents of Alexandra is tested for Covid-19. File photo.
Image: Thulani Mbele

The national coronavirus command council (NCCC) has retained the lockdown at adjusted level 1 in the battle against the Omicron variant, health authorities said on Thursday.

In the past few days, SA has reported more than 20,000 new daily Covid-19 infections, but scientists see no sign yet that the variant causes more severe illness.

“The council has directed the department to closely monitor the rising Covid-19 infections,” the health department said in a statement, adding that it would also track hospital admissions, mortality and recovery rates.

These factors were all largely driven by the Omicron variant, which was contributing to a fourth wave of infections, it added.

The decision followed the council's deliberation on safety measures recommended by the department to avert any surge in infections during the festive period, it said.

SA, the country worst affected by the pandemic on the African continent in terms of confirmed infections and deaths, alerted the world to Omicron in November, triggering alarm that it could cause a global surge in infections.

Scientists suspect that Omicron is more transmissible, given its rapid spread, but say it is too early for definitive conclusions on the severity of the disease it causes.



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