Omicron Variant: South Africa to go into lockdown in coming days

The government of South Africa is expected to announce more stringent lockdown measures in the coming days to control a resurgence of coronavirus infections and the spread of a new variant, inside sources have revealed.

On Saturday, the National Coronavirus Command Council met to discuss possible measures to initiate in combating the resurgence, while weighing the impact any moves will have on the economy.

According to the sources, the Command Council also considered ways to try and boost the nation’s rate of vaccination. Only about a third of South African adults are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

A spokesman for President Cyril Ramaphosa, Tyrone Seale, declined to comment beyond a statement issued on Friday in which the presidency said that the outcome of the NCCC meeting will help determine whether further consultations are required at the level of the President’s Coordinating Council.

Last week, scientists in South Africa announced they had identified a new COVID-19 variant, known as omicron. This announcement has led to several countries placing restrictions on flights from that country.

Also last week, according to the country’s Health Department, the number of new coronavirus cases more than tripled to 2 465 on Friday.

Data from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases shows that the proportion of positive tests rose to 9.2% from 6.5% a day earlier.