Eastern Cape government asks people to be vigilant around COVID-19

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The Eastern Cape Department of Health has called on the public to be vigilant, and take all necessary steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Four cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at Motherwell NU2 clinic in Gqeberha.

The department is however not clear whether these cases are linked to the Omicron COVID-19 XBB 1.5 variant.

Eastern Cape Department of Health spokesperson, Yonela Dekeda says all the new cases have been referred to the outreach teams for contact tracing and testing.

Dekeda says, at this stage it is unclear if the cases are linked to the newly discovered XBB 1.5 variant, which is still under research. She says the department will continue to monitor the infection throughout the province.

“There have been four confirmed COVID-19 cases at Motherwell NU2 clinic for the month of January 2023. This number consists of three staff members and one patient, none of them showing any life threatening symptoms, with some not experiencing any symptoms at all. Decontamination and debriefing of the staff was conducted on Friday for an hour after which operations resumed immediately.”

VARIANT XBB.1.5 by SABC Digital News

South Africa is currently on high alert following the discovery of a new sub-variant in the country, but it is not concerned that it will result in a wave of infections, according to the Head of Genomics sequencing at Stellenbosch University, Professor Tulio de Oliveira.

On Saturday, the XBB.1.5 was detected by the University’s Network for Genomics Surveillance.

The Health Department says that they are currently in discussions with scientists to gather more information about the variant, including its transmissibility and severity.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), symptoms of this sub-variant are similar to those of previous Omicron strains, where most people experience flu-like symptoms. XBB.1.5 is currently the dominant strain in the US and has been detected in at least 28 other countries.

The Department of Health has again appealed to people to vaccinate, get boosters and observe non pharmaceutical interventions.

First case of COVID-19 sub-variant XBB.1.5 confirmed in South Africa: Prof. Tulio de Oliveira

EDITORIAL NOTE: The four new cases have not been confirmed as the new XBB.1.5 variant.