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South Africa’s daily Covid cases fall for the THIRD day in a row and hospital admissions drop 20%

Daily Covid cases in South Africa have fallen week-on-week for the third day in a row and hospital admissions are tumbling just a month into its Omicron outbreak.

Data from the National Institute For Communicable Diseases (NICD) shows just 8,515 people tested positive in the past 23 hours, down from 13,992 last Monday. The 40 per cent drop is the biggest since the Omicron outbreak hit the country.

In another sign the wave is fading, hospitalisations fell by a fifth today with just 323 people admitted.

It’s the second day they’ve fallen after they dropped 53 per cent yesterday.

But there was a big dip in testing today, with 28,000 carried out compared to 45,000 last week, which may be influencing the case numbers.

But the test positive rate has also slightly dropped on last week, suggesting that the outbreak could be waning.

Fatalities – which are the biggest lagging indicator – rose to 105 today in a 855 per cent hike last Monday.

It marked the highest daily figure in South Africa’s latest wave, but is a fraction of the 844 daily deaths the country recorded at the peak last winter.

South African doctors have insisted for weeks that Omicron is milder since raising the alarm about it on November 24.

But there has been ongoing debate over whether it is intrinsically milder or if South Africa is benefitting from very high levels of natural immunity after being battered by Delta just months ago.

South Africa has accused the UK of panicking about Omicron, where Government scientists are warning of up to 6,000 daily deaths and 10,000 hospital admissions at the peak this winter.

UK’s Covid cases stay flat for fourth day running at 91,743 

Britain’s daily Covid cases have barely moved in four days despite Government scientists insisting they are doubling every 48 to 72 hours.

Department of Health figures showed 91,743 infections were recorded today, up two-thirds on last Monday and a tenth on yesterday.

It also marked the third time they had breached 90,000 cases a day, after a record 93,045 were announced last Friday and 90,418 on Saturday. But this was still lower than the estimated doubling time would suggest.

Covid testing does not appear to be the issue, with a record 1.5million Britons now swabbing themselves every day for the virus. 

In epicentre London 22,750 cases were recorded today, which was marginally up on yesterday’s 21,594 but down on the highs of 25,000 from the weekend. A record 250,000 tests a day are also being done in the capital.

In other good news hospitalisations stayed flat with 919 recorded on December 14, the latest available, which was barely a change on 926 from seven days earlier.

Another 14 deaths from the virus were also announced by health chiefs, up 15 per cent in a week.

The 8,515 daily infections recorded across South Africa means 3.3million people in the country have tested positive over the course of the pandemic so far.

The NICD said there are nearly 200,000 ‘active cases’ in the country.

It carried out 28,250 tests in the last 24 hours and 29.9 per cent were positive. For comparison, around five per cent of the UK’s daily Covid tests are positive.

Most cases were recorded in Kwazulu-Natal in the east (2,496), followed by the former epicentre Gauteng in the north east (1,890) and Western Cape (1,625).

South Africa’s positivity rate most recently peaked at 35 per cent last Tuesday and has been trending downwards since.

Meanwhile, 328 infected people were admitted to South Africa’s 666 hospitals and 8,435 people with Covid are currently receiving hospital care.

Some 457,320 Covid hospitalisations have been recorded since the pandemic began.

And 105 new deaths were recorded, bringing the country’s Covid fatality toll to 90,453.

The data from the country suggests the outbreak is fading around a month after it was first detected, while ministers and scientists in the UK are panicking about the impact the wave will have over the coming weeks.

The UK’s fight against Omicron is strengthened by the booster campaign. South Africa is not dishing out third doses and just 23 per cent of their population is vaccinated.

However, UK experts have warned Britain’s older and denser population is more susceptible to a big and deadly outbreak.   

England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whity last week said he expected to see the UK’s daily cases rise extraordinarily due to Omicron, but also ‘come down faster than previous peaks’, mirroring South Africa’s experience with the strain.

Professor Whitty told MPs on the Health and Social Care Committee last week: ‘I think what we will see with this is — and I think we’re seeing it in South Africa — is that the upswing will be very incredibly fast even if people are taking more cautious action. 

Professor Whitty added: ‘It’ll probably therefore peak really quite fast. 

‘My anticipation is it may then come down faster than previous peaks but I wouldn’t want to say that for sure.’

It comes as Britain’s daily Covid cases have barely moved in four days despite Government scientists insisting they are doubling every 48 to 72 hours.

Department of Health figures showed 91,743 infections were recorded today, up two-thirds on last Monday and a tenth on yesterday.

It also marked the third time they had breached 90,000 cases a day, after a record 93,045 were announced last Friday and 90,418 on Saturday. But this was still lower than the estimated doubling time would suggest.

Covid testing does not appear to be the issue, with a record 1.5million Britons now swabbing themselves every day for the virus. 

In epicentre London 22,750 cases were recorded today, which was marginally up on yesterday’s 21,594 but down on the highs of 25,000 from the weekend. A record 250,000 tests a day are also being done in the capital.

In other good news hospitalisations stayed flat with 919 recorded on December 14, the latest available, which was barely a change on 926 from seven days earlier.

Another 14 deaths from the virus were also announced by health chiefs, up 15 per cent in a week.

Britain’s Omicron death toll has now risen to 12, with 104 patients suffering from the variant hospitalised. But Professor Chris Whitty has warned that the delayed in testing samples suggests there are likely already many more patients hospitalised with the virus.

It came as Boris Johnson today put off a decision on whether more Covid curbs should be imposed before Christmas, with angry Tory MPs demanding the Prime Minister tells the nation whether festive plans can go ahead.

Mr Johnson hosted an emergency meeting of his Cabinet this afternoon on whether further measures were needed. But no final decision was reportedly made at the meeting, which means it now seems unlikely that more restrictions will be imposed before Christmas.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk