Omicron virus variant first detected by Botswana- President Ramaphosa

PRETORIA, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday evening said the Omicron coronovirus variant was first detected in Botswana and later on in South Africa.
President Cyril Rhamaphosa. (Photo: Contributed).

He said scientists say Omicron has far more mutations than previous versions of the novel coronavirus, but it can be readily detected by PCR tests. It is not related to the Delta and Beta coronavirus variants.

Ramaphosa said this on Sunday evening while addressing his nation on the outbreak of the Omicron virus variant, which has prompted European countries, the United States and other countries to impose new travel bans on people from southern Africa, including South Africa and Namibia.

The Omicron variant is also responsible for infections in Gauteng and has shown up in all other provinces of South Africa as well.

Scientists do not know yet whether the Omicron variant is transmitted more easily.

“If cases continue to rise we can enter into a full fourth wave,” Ramaphosa told South Africans.

More than 25 million doses of vaccinations against Covid-19 have been administered in South Africa so far, Ramaphosa announced.

“We have a powerful tool called vaccination. We have seen how vaccines have dramatically decreased severe illness,” he said.

Ramaphosa said 41% of South Africans have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while more than 30% of the population are fully vaccinated.

“We still have too many people expressing doubt and restraint to be vaccinated,” Ramaphosa stressed.

South Africa will administer booster vaccination doses for older citizens, while people with comorbidities should go for booster vaccinations after seeking medical advice, he said.(Namibian).

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