The National Health Department says that it has seen a spike in the number of infections of the new omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus in young children but no deaths among children have been reported so far.

Department specialist Dr Lesley Bamford, says Tshwane in particular has seen a high number of hospitalisations – but symptoms linked with omicron are apparently not as severe as with previous variants.

People are urged to get the vaccine as it is highly effective against coronavirus.

Omicron COVID-19 variant detected in 38 countries:

People are also urged to wear masks and avoid crowded places with poor ventilation.

Bamford has cautioned that more info is required on new variant’s effects.

“So, in Tshwane in particular, they have seen a high number of children being admitted with COVID-19 infection. Luckily to date, those infections don’t seem to have been severe, and as far as I know no deaths have been reported yet. It is really early days and we do need to watch the situation very closely.”

Meanwhile South Africa’s COVID-19 cases have surpassed the 3 million mark with 16 055 new cases reported in the past 24-hours. Accumulative cases now stand at 3 004 203. This increase represents a 24.3% positivity rate. 

The country’s COVID-19 related deaths now stand at 89 944, with 25 new related fatalities reported Friday.

Latest SA cases:

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According to the NICD, “The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng (72%). Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal each accounted for 6% and North West 5%. Mpumalanga accounted for 4%; Limpopo 3% and Free State and Eastern Cape each accounted for 2%. Northern Cape accounted for 1% .”

Gauteng cases in the past 24-hours are 11 553, with the Western Cape with 957.