(ANSA) – JOHANNESBURG, 04 DEC – The infections from Covid-19 in South Africa have exceeded the record of three million while a new wave led by the Omicron variant is spreading in various areas of the country. The government today reported 16,055 new cases in 24 hours, bringing the total of infections detected in the laboratory to 3,004,203.
“This increase represents a positive rate of 24.3 percent,” the government-run National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said in the daily update.
Most of the new cases reported today, 72%, were detected in the province of Gauteng, the most populous of the country’s provinces. Gauteng, which is home to the capital Pretoria and the country’s economic and financial center, Johannesburg, has been confirmed as the epicenter of the new variant since Omicron was first taken over there last week.
A well-known epidemiologist, Salim Abdool Karim, predicted on Monday that coronavirus cases in the African continent’s worst-hit country could see daily infections more than tripled this week to over 10,000.
Gauteng province passed the projection, registering 11,553 cases today. Other provinces recorded fewer than 1,000 cases each.
The sharp rise in infections is attributed to the highly contagious new strain Omicron, which was first reported by South African scientists on 25 November.
However, the number of deaths still remains relatively low, with 25 Covid-19-related deaths reported today, bringing the death toll to 89,944 since the start of the pandemic.