A woman is vaccinated against the coronavirus in the South African province of Gauteng
Photo: Jerome Delay / AP
The number of coronavirus infections in South Africa is increasing rapidly. On Friday, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported 16,055 new infections within one day of 65,990 Covid tests carried out. Exactly one week ago, the number of new infections in the country of around 59 million inhabitants was 2,828 after 30,904 tests were carried out. The country has thus exceeded the threshold of three million confirmed corona cases since the pandemic began.
According to NICD, 72 percent of the new cases occurred in the most populous province of Gauteng, which also includes the metropolis of Johannesburg.
Last week, South Africa was one of the first countries in the world to report the new Omikron coronavirus variant.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had classified the variant (B.1.1.529) as "worrying" after an investigation.
Omikron has now been detected in almost 40 countries, including Germany.
This virus variant has 32 mutations compared to the previously common coronavirus.
It is feared both a higher transferability and a possible resistance to the existing vaccines.
Red Cross and Red Crescent Criticize the "Selfish Approach of the Western Community"
The spread of the omicron variant is the "ultimate proof" of the danger posed by the unequal distribution of vaccines around the world, said the chairman of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), Francesco Rocca.
"Scientists have repeatedly warned the international community of the risk of very new variants in locations with very low vaccination rates."
According to the United Nations, around 65 percent of people in the richer countries have received at least one dose of a vaccine against Covid-19, while in the least developed countries it is only 7 percent.
Against this background, the World Health Organization (WHO) had called for booster vaccinations not to be made generally available - but to vaccinate first in poor countries.
"This is a selfish approach by the Western community and a really blind approach," said Rocca, criticizing the booster vaccinations.
"It's incredible that we still don't realize how strongly we are connected."
jso / dpa / AFP