South Africa, the country where the Omicron variant first appeared, announced on Thursday that it has passed the peak of the new wave caused by the latter, without noticing a significant increase in the death toll.
“All indications are that the country is likely to have reached the peak of the fourth wave” of the Covid-19 epidemic, ” Le Monde quoted a presidential statement as saying, announcing the lifting of some health restrictions, including overnight closures.
The number of new infections fell by almost 30% last week (over 89,000), compared to the previous week (over 127,000). The number of hospital admissions dropped to eight out of nine provinces, despite the fact that the new variant is highly transmissible.
Omicron, which has a high number of mutations raising fears of resistance to Covid-19 vaccines, was first identified in Botswana and South Africa in late November. It immediately became dominant in South Africa, causing the number of infections to increase exponentially – to more than 26,000 daily cases since mid-December, according to official statistics.
The Omicron variant is currently in circulation in about 100 countries, according to the World Health Organization. Much more contagious than previous variants, it affects people both those who have been vaccinated and those who have once passed the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Statistics in South Africa confirm once again what many epidemiologists predicted at the outset: the virus will come to subside.