South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the detection of the new Coronavirus strain called “Omicron” in all regions of the country, with the largest outbreak currently in the province of Gauteng.
“The exponential rise in COVID-19 infections in South Africa shows that the fourth wave is imminent and may hit in the next few weeks, if not sooner,” warned Ramaphosa in a televised speech.
He pointed out that the vaccination rate of just fewer than 36 percent for all adults in the country is insufficient. South Africa government is considering imposing vaccine mandates in some public place to prevent outbreaks and the emergence of other strains, reducing the damage to the economy.
Large gatherings are undesirable, he said, adding that the government wants to cancel the call for mass rallies to stop the virus wave.
Ramaphosa pointed out that South Africa is in a first-level public lockdown, and that this will not continue unless vaccination rates rise.
Omicron was first detected in South Africa, pushing several countries to close their borders to citizens of countries in southern Africa, including South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and Angola.