The Department of Health has raised the alarm on the number of children under 5 getting admitted to hospitals due to Covid-19.
Wassila Jassat, from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), noted that the number of hospitalisations is growing among children under the age of five.
“Now at the start of the fourth wave, we are seeing quite a sharp increase across all age groups particularly in the under-fives,” she said in a press briefing.
Jassat added that “The incidence in those under five is second highest and second highest only to those over sixty.”
As the surge increases, NICD’s Head of Public Health Dr. Michelle Groome said preparations for pediatric beds and staff have to be made a priority.
“We do need to highlight the importance of surge preparations to also include pediatric beds and staff,” Dr. Groome said.
Following the detection of the new Omicron variant, South Africa has seen a dramatic increase in the number of infections. On Friday, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases reported 11 535 new cases in a period of 24 hours. The positivity rate has increased to 22.4 percent. Gauteng represented the highest number of infections accounting for 8280 of the total cases.
Scientists around the world are still learning more about the new strain. There is some suggestion that the new variant may be more contagious.
“Scientists have said they are concerned about the Omicron variant – also known as B.1.1.529 – as it has about 30 different mutations,” reported The Huffington Post.
The South African government has launched a new drive to encourage more people to get vaccinated ahead of the festive season. The Vooma Vaccination Week campaign runs from the 3rd to the 10th of December.
“The health department, working with the Demand Acceleration Team, the private sector, and civil society organisations are setting up a host of pop-up vaccination sites.”