South Africa’s National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) has maintained its lockdown at ‘modified level 1’, or the lowest of a five-tier system of restrictions, in the battle over the Omicron variant, health authorities said Thursday.
South Africa has reported more than 20,000 new daily COVID-19 infections in recent days, but scientists see no signs yet that the variant is causing more serious illness.
“The Council has instructed the department to closely monitor increasing COVID-19 infections,” the health department said in a statement, adding that it would also monitor hospital admissions, mortality and recovery rates.
These factors were all largely driven by the Omicron variant, which contributed to a fourth wave of infections, it added.
The decision followed the council’s deliberations on security measures recommended by the ministry to prevent a rise in infections during the holiday season, it said.
South Africa, the country hardest hit by the pandemic on the African continent in terms of confirmed infections and deaths, warned the world about Omicron in November, raising the alarm that it could spark a global increase in infections.
Scientists suspect Omicron may be more transmissible given its rapid spread, but say it’s too early to draw definitive conclusions about the severity of the disease it causes.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)