NICD: Severity of Omicron yet to be Determined: Urges Public to be Cautious When Attending Gatherings that May Become Super Spreader Events

Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says the severity of Omicron, a variant of COVID-19 is yet to be determined and has urged the public to be cautious and to reconsider attending events that may become super spreader events. 

The NICD confirmed last week the Omicron had been detected in South Africa. 

NICD Acting Executive Director, Professor Adrian Puren says the public should be cautious when attending indoor gatherings in poorly ventilated spaces or large gatherings.

“The number of new COVID-19 cases and the percent positivity continue to increase, likely due to spread of the Omicron variant. At this stage, scientists are trying to establish if this new variant has increased transmissibility (ability to spread) and/or developed ways to escape some of our immune responses.” 

Dr Michelle Groome, Head of the Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response at the NICD agrees that responsible actions and adherence to non-pharmaceutical interventions are key to limiting the impact of a fourth wave. 

“If individuals remain steadfast in implementing physical and social distancing, and by wearing their masks, transmission of the disease and ultimately the negative impact on our health sector will be lessened.”

The NICD says COVID-19 vaccination remains key which was emphasised by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his address to the nation on Sunday. 

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