According to Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is now dominant in Switzerland.
On 30 December 2021, the FOPH announced that 65% of Covid-19 cases were Omicron and only 35% were Delta. The latest variant was first detected in Switzerland on 19 November 2021 and rose from 14% to 65% of cases over the 5-day period from 14 to 18 December 2021. Given the Omicron variant’s higher contagiousness, the number of cases recorded has also risen. On 30 December 2021, 19,032 new cases were reported, a record high. Given how easily Omicron spreads this figure is likely to understate the real number.
Evidence from around the world suggests those infected with the Omicron variant are less likely to end up in hospital than those infected with earlier variants. in Switzerland, the numbers being admitted to hospital and dying remain relatively stable. Around 80 people are being admitted to hospital daily and daily Covid-19 deaths are around 10. Both figures are below recent peaks. However, some experts are concerned that even a small percentage of the growing number of cases could overwhelm Switzerland’s hospitals. The percentage of intensive care beds available in Switzerland is around 20%, a figure that has remained relatively stable since the end of November 2021.
In South Africa, a cabinet statement released after a special meeting said cases and hospital admission rates had fallen in almost all provinces, suggesting that the recent Omicron wave there may be subsiding. The Omicron variant was first reported in South Africa in November 2021.