South Africa Wednesday reported its highest daily tally of new coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, just weeks after announcing the discovery of the Omicron strain.
The tally of 26,976 COVID infections topped the previous record of 26,485 on July 3, at the height of the country’s third wave caused by the Delta variant.
The highly mutated Omicron strain was first detected in South Africa last month and sparked global panic over fears that it is more contagious than other variants.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office announced Monday that he had tested positive, even though he is fully vaccinated.
Despite cases of Omicron being found in countries worldwide, it has not yet become fully clear if it causes more severe illness or if, or to what extent, it can evade vaccines.
On the day of South Africa’s previous record, 108 COVID deaths were reported.
On Wednesday, 54 people died of the virus.
Promising data so far has suggested that vaccines still offer protection against Omicron.
South Africa’s government has responded to the latest wave of infections by encouraging the nation to get their jabs.
Last week, South Africa approved booster shots for all citizens over 18.
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