ACCRA – President Cyril Ramaphosa said the health minister has informed him that the increasing cases of COVID-19 have not led to an alarming increase in hospitalisations.

The president, who is on a state visit to Accra, Ghana, briefed reporters about the developments while replying to questions regarding the travel bans imposed on South Africa by developed economies due to the recently discovered omicron variant.

Ramaphosa sought to allay fears of possible heightened dangers of the Omicron variant by sharing the contents of his regular briefings with Health Minister Joe Phaahla.

He said Phaahla told him that while the variant appears more transmissible, hospital admissions tell a different story.

“Our hospital admissions are not increasing at an alarming rate meaning that people may be testing positive are not in large numbers being admitted to hospitals and it is for that reason that I said we should not panic,” he told reporters.

Ramaphosa has used the West Africa trip to criticise the banning of travellers from southern Africa as he met with different state presidents in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Ghana.

“The tests still have to be done and the research still needs to be done that whilst Omicron spreads, it does not seem to be resulting in greater numbers of hospital admissions. we should take heart from that. It’s going to be found all over. We now need to learn to live with the virus,” Ramaphosa said.

He added that vaccination rates need to increase as he once again hit back at developed economies for having been quote “greedy” by hoarding vaccines.

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