South Africa province where the Omicron COVID-19 variant was first detected sees 330% surge in hospitalisations in the past two weeks


The South African province where the Omicron COVID-19 variant was first detected has recorded a 330% surge in virus-related hospitalizations this week.


Gauteng, which includes the city of Johannesburg, recorded 580 hospitalizations because of the virus this week, per official data, a 330 percent jump from 135 two weeks ago.

Last week, the new Omicron variant was sequenced in 77 cases in the region, and many fear it is the most infectious strain of the virus yet and that it could resist vaccine protection because of its high number of mutations.


While South African health officials have reported that cases of the variant are often mild, the increase in hospitalizations in the province seems to hint otherwise.


Gauteng is the largest province in the country by population, as it is home to more than 12 million people.

After a Covid surge around three months ago, the province has experienced decreasing hospitalizations from the virus for weeks.


During the week that ended on November 7, 120 Covid related hospitalizations were detected.


Last week, that figure doubled to 276, before jumping to 580 last week.


South African officials have said that cases of this new strain are relatively minor, though, to such an extent that it surprised them.