HomeBreaking NewsNew Omicron variant surges as cases drop

New Omicron variant surges as cases drop

Summary

New SA Health data shows 48 per cent of the state’s cases are the BA.2 variant, compared to 19 per cent last week.Overseas studies say while the new Omicron variant is more infectious, there is little evidence to suggest it is more dangerous or more severe on patients. SA Health on Friday reported 4,274 cases, which was 200 fewer than Thursday’s total number of infections after days of rising number of patients. Despite Friday’s slight drop in cases, it was among the highest daily increases and the biggest jump since mid-January. But in comparison, the rate of patients being admitted to hospital is relatively stable while the number of people needing intensive care has reduced.SA Health reported three more deaths on Friday.Those who died were two men, in their 20s and 80s and a woman in her 40s.In the past 24 hours, four more Covid patients have been admitted to hospital, bringing the total number to 136.There are five ICU patients, down from eight on Thursday, which is the lowest number since New Year’s Day. Chief public health officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier, said the more transmissible BA.2 was becoming the dominant strain in SA.But the surge in cases is also due to last week’s decision to relax restrictions.“There’s really nothing in terms of our public health and social measures other than masks at the moment,” she told ABC Radio.“The virus transmits from people to people … if there are more people coming into contact with each other there would be an expectation that you would see more cases.”Prof Spurrier would not confirm if restrictions would return if cases continued to surge and refused to say if she backed the “significant” easing last weekend.“We will be holding out … with putting any of those sorts of restrictions on but it’s early days, we’re just going to have to keep monitoring.”When asked if close contact rules would soon ease, Prof Spurrier said she would monitor the situation over the weekend but no changes were set to be announced on Friday.

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