South Africa’s new Covid-19 cases soared more than 50 percent on Thursday from the previous day, official data showed, amid a wave of infections caused by two new Omicron subvariants.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases reported that 9,757 new Covid-19 cases were identified, up from 6,170 cases on Wednesday.
The figures showed that 25.9 percent or more than one in four test takers had a positive result.
This is the highest positivity rate in recent months and comes as the winter season begins.
Seven deaths were recorded in the past 48 hours, the institute said .
World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday that two subvariants of Omicron, BA.4 and BA.5, are behind the rise in cases in South Africa.
But he said it was “too early to know if these new un tervariants can cause more severe diseases than other Omicron subvariants.”
The South African government on Thursday retracted its earlier announcement that school children would no longer be required to wear masks.
The withdrawal occurred on April 16 Hours after the Health Department lifted mask requirements for school children.
In a new statement, the ministry said it was “clearing up the confusion created by unfortunate and regrettable human error” that is emerging a previous media statement “about removing the wearing of face masks by children at school”.
It said it all People, including children, were still expected to continue to comply with Covid-19 regulations, including wearing masks in indoor public spaces and limiting attendance at major events.
Indoor gatherings are limited to 1,000 people, or half the Venue capacity, while outdoor events are limited to 2,000 people. Participants must be vaccinated or have a negative Covid-19 test.
Entrants must continue to be fully vaccinated or have a negative PCR test.
South Africa has officially been more than 3 .8 million cases and 100,471 deaths have been recorded – the highest number in all of Africa – and less than 45 percent of the adult population has been fully vaccinated.
Following a relative lull in the last month, new numbers of infections have soared .