Health Minister, Joe Phaahla will give an update on the COVID-19 situation in South Africa later on Tuesday after the detection of a new Omicron sub-variant, called XBB 1.5 in the country.
The ministry in recent days made a renewed call to the public to wear masks, get vaccinated and receive booster shots as well as to keep social distance.
The global COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020 and has claimed over 100 000 lives in South Africa.
In total about 4 million cases were reported countrywide.
COVID-19 sub-variant XBB.1.5:
Meanwhile Health activist, Dr Kgosi Letlape says there is no need to panic after the confirmation of the first case of the XBB.1.5 COVID-19 sub-variant in the country.
It is currently prevalent in the United States and according to the World Health Organisation, the sub-variant is XBB.1.5 is the most transmissible.
The Stellenbosch University’s Network for Genomics Surveillance detected the variant which has been described as the most transmissible to date.
The Health Department says it is still gathering more information about the variant including its transmissibility.
Dr Letlape says they will wait for the department to release the information. “Hopefully, they will come forward with the information of who was the patient, where was it was found, where did the patient come from, did the patient travel and that the precautionary measures of isolation and tracing of contacts will begin. What we do not want is to begin when the virus has spread beyond what is reasonable.”
VARIANT XBB.1.5 by SABC Digital News