Namibia detects new COVID-19 variants

Namibia has detected two new Omicron sub variants that are driving a surge of COVID-19 infections in South Africa, Health minister Kalumbi Shangula has revealed.

The detected variants are sub-lineage BA.2, sub-lineage BA.4, which have been blamed for the on-going rise in COVID-19 cases in the country, with the possibility of BA.5 also being in circulation.

“The current upsurge in the number of new cases is driven initially by the Omicron variant sub-lineage BA.2 and of late by sub-lineage BA.4 which have been conclusively identified in Namibia. It is also suspected that the Omicron sub-lineage BA.5 is also circulating in Namibia. The characteristics of these sub-lineages are almost similar. The descendants of omicron variant BA.2 could be more contagious but not cause severe disease. The BA.2 possesses immune evasive properties, which may be the reason why Namibia observed a sharp increase in the number of infections during this week,” the Health minister said on Thursday.

The country is experiencing a surge in active cases from 296 during the previous briefing to 1 034 currently.

“The number of deaths increased from 7 deaths reported during the preceding 25 days to 8 deaths reported during the period of 26 days of this dispensation, an increase of 14.3%. Moreover, the number of COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals increased to an average of 17 per day as compared to 12 reported during the preceding 26 days. Similarly, the number of COVID-19 patients admitted to ICU has increased from 0 to 9 cases currently,” he said.

“As at 11 May 2022, Namibia has recorded a total of 159 693 COVID-19 cases out of the 1 016 295 samples tested.”

In terms of health infrastructure , Shangula said the government has sufficient vaccines, while construction of a 98-bed Isolation Center at Katutura Intermediate Hospital in Windhoek reached completion.

“This facility is furnished with an intensive care unit as well as hemodialysis services, which fulfills a long-standing demand for Katutura Intermediate Hospital. We have also made strides to ensure that the stock levels of essential medical items and consumables are adequate and are distributed throughout the country,” he said.

According to President Hage Geingob the rise in new cases has been recorded predominantly in the towns of Windhoek, Rehoboth, Okahandja and Otjiwarongo, and is attributable primarily to cluster outbreaks in various Primary and Secondary schools and hostels.

“Unfortunately, the rate of infection has risen sharply over the last 29-day Observance Period, recording a three-fold increase in the weekly positivity rate, from 2.1% (in the week commencing 11 April) to 7.5 percent as at 11 May 2022. Year-on-Year data comparisons further reveal that at this time last year (2021), the positivity rate in the country stood at 11.9%, at the onset of the Third Wave,” he said

Namibia’s cumulative number of fully vaccinated persons now stands at 411,106 or 23% of the target population, of 70 percent.

 

According to the World Health Organisation cases of the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-lineages have been reported in several countries, with the bulk of those cases having been detected in South Africa.

How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 514.2 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The number of confirmed deaths has now passed 6.23 million. More than 11.6 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to the World Economic Forum.

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Last modified on Monday, 16 May 2022 18:34

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