South Africa says likely passed peak of Omicron-fueled 4th Covid wave

Johannesburg, Dec 31 (EFE).- South Africa has scrapped a nighttime curfew as indicators suggest it has passed an Omicron-driven fourth wave of Covid-19, the government announced.

The country, whose scientists were the first to detect the Omicron variant that is thought to have originated in southern Africa, registered a 29.7% decrease in cases last week, down to 89,781 from 127,753.

“All indicators suggest the country may have passed the peak of the fourth wave at a national level,” a statement from the presidency said.

“While the Omicron variant is highly transmissible, there has been lower rates of hospitalisation than in previous waves.

“This means that the country has a spare capacity for admission of patients even for routine health services. There is a marginal increase in the number of deaths in all the provinces.”

Authorities lifted the nightly curfew and boosted capacity limits for indoor and outdoor venues but kept other restrictions like mask use in place.

Not long after it was detected in November, highly contagious Omicron took hold as the dominant coronavirus variant in the country, prompting Europe and the US to slap travel bans on a host of southern African nations.

With Europe and the US now the global epicenter of the Omicron surge, many are now looking to South Africa to predict the current waves of Covid-19.

South Africa has registered 3.4 million Covid-19 cases and 91,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, making it one of the worst-affected African nations.

Some 27% of the population has received a full course of a Covid-19 vaccine. EFE


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