Digital Desk, Johannesburg. According to health officials in South Africa, the Omicron variant is causing an increasing number of hospitalizations in children under the age of five. Omicron in South Africa is seeing a doubling of COVID cases as a result. Local media quoted Health Minister Joe Fahla as saying, it has also emerged that cases of hospitalization of children under five years of age have increased in the fourth wave.
According to the country’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), there has been a huge increase in cases in the last seven days. A new trend in this wave is an increase in hospitalizations of children under five years of age, said Waseela Jasat, public health expert at the NICD. The NICD also said that children under two years of age account for about 10 percent of total hospitalizations in Tshwane, the report said.
Jasat said that the child’s illness is a cause for concern. Children under the age of two make up 10 percent of Omicron-related hospitalizations. Jasat said the country entering the current fourth wave of infections was admitting more children than it was in the initial stages, although a similar trend had occurred during the third wave. He said hospital admissions are increasing nationally. There are 1,351 patients in Gauteng hospitals. Fahla is quoted as saying that the normal bed occupancy at the national level is 1.9 per cent and for ICU it is 4.2 per cent.