South Africa battles Omicron, country reports spike in hospitalisations among children

South Africa has witnessed a spike in hospitalisations among its young children days after scientists detected the omicron variant of COVID-19 last week, said doctors.

Children below the age of five forms the bulk of these hospitalisations.

The country is also witnessing increased positivity rates among the age group of 10 to 14.

However, the doctors have not yet attributed the spike to the emergence of WHO’s newest variant of concern in the country.

The surge in Children’s hospitalisations comes when COVID-19 cases are rising exponentially in the country. South Africa has registered 11,535 new cases of infection on Thursday, the majority of which were in Gauteng.

Since South Africa warned the globe about the new strain of the virus, infections have spread faster than in the country’s prior three waves combined.

The first cluster of cases was centred among university students – swiftly spreading among its young population. It appears they are infecting the older citizens.

Although patients are generally showing milder symptoms, NICD’s head of public health Michelle Groome emphasised that the development of serious illness is only predicted for the next two weeks.

Groome also stated that the virus was spreading faster than at any other point in the epidemic in Gauteng, the province that includes Johannesburg and the country’s capital Pretoria.

Meanwhile, South African scientists on Thursday reported that reinfections with Omicron were three times higher than with Delta or Beta strains.