Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, has reiterated that there is no need to panic over the emergence of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.

The variant that was detected by South African scientists last week has been spreading across several countries.

on Monday, Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla, Deputy Minister of Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo and a panel of scientists briefed the media on South Africa’s state of readiness to respond to the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Phaahla was speaking during a media briefing on Monday morning.

“We want to say to all South Africans that there is absolutely no need to panic. We have been here before, this is nothing new, we are now more than-20 months experienced in terms of the COVID-19 waves. Our medical scientists are working daily to study this virus such as the transmissibility of this virus, whether there is increased reinfection, for those who have been infected before and those who are already vaccinated,” says Phaahla.

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Increase in new COVID-19 infections among younger age groups

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD ) says it noted an increase in the number of new COVID-19 infections among younger age groups towards the end of the third wave of infections.

The NICD’s Michelle Groome was speaking during the media briefing on Monday.

“We can see there was a rapid increase in the test positivity over the last two weeks in terms of the age groups.  So, towards the end of the 3rd wave, we saw significant increases in the younger age groups and this is really a factor of the younger age groups are more likely to congregate or socialise. Most of this is driven by under 25-year olds, but we also see it spread to the other age groups,” says Groome.

Chief Executive of Proactive Health Solutions, Dr Fundile Nyati says the number of mutations in the Omicron variant are more than any variant that has been seen before.


Dr Fundile Nyati, Chief Executive of Proactive Health Solutions, on the detection of the  COVID-19 Omicron variant in SA.