After a lull in recent months, the coronavirus is returning to South Africa.

Officially the continent's hardest hit by Covid-19, the country has entered a new wave of the pandemic, the Center for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI) warned on Tuesday.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla had already expressed his “concern” last week.

“The 5th wave has arrived.

Take care of yourself, ”said the genomic research center led by virologist Tulio de Oliveira, who became famous for spotting the Beta and Omicron variants, on Twitter.

The number of new infections in the past 24 hours is still up from the past few days, with 5,062 cases, 15 deaths and 83 hospitalizations, according to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).

A three-month high

With a ratio of 6.3 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants and a positivity rate above 10% (16.9%), “based on previous waves, these are thresholds indicating a continuous increase”, added on Twitter Ridhwaan Suliman, a researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), a government research institute.

Above all, the figures recorded in recent days are the highest for almost three months and a clear increase compared to two weeks ago.

At the beginning of March, the country had experienced a period of 48 hours without any death linked to Covid-19, a first since 2020. President Cyril Ramaphosa had also announced at the beginning of April the lifting of all legal restrictions linked to the pandemic.

South Africa, where less than 45% of the adult population is fully immunized out of a population of nearly 60 million, has recorded more than 3.7 million cases and some 100,350 deaths.

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