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Light at end of tunnel? South African Omicron outbreak already ‘levelling off’ – new data

Amid reports the variant will infect 200,000 people a day on current UK modelling, health experts in South Africa have claimed infections are now beginning to slow down. Although cases have surpassed November’s peak, officials have also warned the mortality rate is lower than the deadly delta wave. Indeed, in the Tshwane province, one of the early epicentres of the pandemic, case levels are now flattening off.

In Gauteng, cases have also begun cases are levelling off, Louis Rossouw, of the COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group in South Africa said.

He told The Daily Telegraph: “Case growth is steeper than last week but still has slowed down versus November.

“In Gauteng, cases are still levelling off.

“Tshwane cases are relatively flat, with a slight increase in the most recent days.”

Officials have also warned the high case rate has not yet matched the respective mortality rate that was seen during the delta wave.

According to figures, one in 33 people died after infection, while in the current wave, one in 200 is dying.

Peter Streicher, a research associate at the University of Johannesburg, also claimed the current strain is not matching the mortality rate of the delta variant.

He said: “The case fatality rate was consistently at three per cent until late November, mostly delta deaths.

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There have also been 10 confirmed cases where the victim has been admitted to hospital.

One person has also been killed by the variant.

However, Health Secretary, Sajid Javid warned the variant would infect up to 200,000 people a day based on current modelling.

According to data, health experts have warned the new variant is highly transmissible among younger, vaccinated people.

Dr Catherine Smallwood, a senior emergency officer at the World Health Organization’s Europe office: “Generally those first cases are in relatively young, relatively healthy and – in the context of Europe – in relatively highly vaccinated groups.”

Experts in South Africa are due to publish mortality figures on the new variant on Wednesday.

Mr Javid also urged the public to book a booster jab and said the Government is working to expand the current programme.

The Prime Minister has pledged to offer the younger generation a booster jab by the end of the year.