Authorities in South Africa announced on Wednesday that new cases of COVID-19 nearly doubled in a day, indicating a substantial increase in the country where scientists discovered the omicron version last week.
According to official statistics, the number of new confirmed cases increased to 8,561 on Wednesday, up from 4,373 the day before.
South African scientists are bracing for a surge in COVID-19 cases as a result of the finding of the new strain.
‘There is a likelihood that we will witness a significant doubling or tripling of cases as the week progresses,’ Dr. Nicksy Gumede-Moeletsi, regional virologist for the World Health Organization, told The Associated Press.
South Africa experienced a period of low transmission in early November, with a 7-day average of roughly 200 new cases per day, but new cases began to rapidly rise in the middle of November. The additional cases revealed on Wednesday represent a positivity rate of 16.5 percent of patients tested, up from a rate of 1 percent in early November.