Omicron variant highly transmissible, spreading throughout all provinces: Phaahla

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Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla has warned that the COVID-19 Omicron variant is highly transmissible, with data showing its presence in all nine provinces. He has been speaking during a virtual media briefing on government’s efforts to fight the pandemic.

New coronavirus infections continue to rise rapidly across the country.

In the last 24-hour reporting cycle, 11 535 cases were identified, representing a positivity rate of 22.4%.

Latest SA COVID-19 stats: 



Phaahla says, “Over the last seven days, the new spike has moved through the whole of Gauteng, and it is also registering a presence in all nine provinces with numbers starting to rise in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga, all with high positivity rates. While we are dealing with a few days and limited data, the indications are that this variant is highly transmissible, including infections of people who have been vaccinated but the infections are causing mostly mild illness, especially for those who are vaccinated.”

Live proceedings of the media briefing streamed below: 

Second Pfizer shot

Phaahla has also reiterated the call for people who haven’t received their second Pfizer dose to complete their vaccinations due to the high transmissibility of the new variant.

“We call on all those who have not completed the full vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine to do so. There are many who have taken only one dose even though they have long been due for the second dose. We really appeal to them to come forward and complete their vaccination so they can be fully protected because what we have also seen is while having at least one dose does provide some protection, but it is just not enough because it does not provide the full protection which is required,” adds the Minister.

Last month, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority, in partnership with the Department of Health and other stakeholders, hosted a webinar on mitigating COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in South Africa.

More details in the video below: 

What you need to know about the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron: