“Recent genomic sequencing results revealed that Omicron was the dominant variant among samples sequenced during November 2021 – 70% (250/358) as of yesterday,” he said.
In this way, the minister said it is not yet clear whether infection with Omicron causes more severe disease or death as compared to infections with other variants, including Delta.
Mr. Phaahla added the reproductive number of the virus (the number of people who are likely to be infected by one person) was 2.5 – higher than it was at any other point in the pandemic.
The new variant Omicron has fueled the resurgence of Covid-19 in South Africa, he regretted.
Mr. Phaahla also stated that those patients who were admitted to the hospital during current fourth wave of Covid-19 have so far experienced a less severe disease.
On Thursday, 22,391 cases were reported nationwide, while daily average reported last week was over 13,000, according to Michelle Groome, head of the Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response at National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).