These promising charts highlight the fact that the Omicron virus outbreak in South Africa has receded after a mere month. It is an encouraging sign that Britain may not be suffering the same fate.

South Africa, which was designated as the “ground zero” for this new variant in November, saw an explosive rise in infection rates from just 670 to almost 20,000 within three weeks.

The number of cases has fallen five consecutive days since December 15th, when they peaked at 26,976 in national statistics. Yesterday they dipped 22 per cent in a week after 21,099 were recorded.

Although the fear of a tsunami of infection was raised, there were no hospitalizations. Doctors on the frontlines quickly confirmed that many patients came in with milder ailments.

British Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty dismissed the claims, claiming that lower patient numbers could have been due to South Africa’s smaller and younger population.

But in another promising sign hospitalisations now appear to be levelling off too, hovering just below 400 admissions a day — compared to a height of 2,000 when Delta took hold.

After another 593 admissions were made, yesterday’s drop in admissions was four per cent. With only 99 deaths yesterday, death rates are just a fraction compared to when Delta was established. 

On average, there are now 50 deaths per day. This is only slightly more than the 20 deaths per day that Omicron first appeared in the country. For comparison, 600 people died per day during the Delta Wave peak. 

South African scientist Dr Michelle Groome said in a press briefing yesterday that infections are  now levelling off in three of the country’s nine provinces after peaking in Gauteng about a week ago.

Hospitalisations, deaths and other complications are likely to increase for the next few weeks, even though cases have fallen due to the delay between severe and infectious illness.

Britain is currently four weeks into the Omicron epidemic. Cases are now increasing to over 90,000 per day. Hospitalisations exceed 800 per day. Deaths have risen beyond 100.

Three real-world studies that were published yesterday showed Omicron infection is milder than Delta and less likely to result in people being admitted to hospital. 

The above graphs show how Covid cases are falling in South Africa compared to when the Delta variant took hold. Both waves were set to begin the first time a case of the variant was reported, which was May 8 for Delta and November 25 for Omicron. It reveals that hospitalisations are also dropping earlier than they did when Delta took hold. Deaths are still rising, but this is a lagging indicator because of the time taken for someone infected with the virus to become seriously ill

These graphs illustrate how South Africa’s Covid cases have fallen since the introduction of the Delta variant. Each wave was to start the moment a new case was reported for the variant. Omicron was November 25 and Delta was May 8. The data shows that hospitalisations are falling earlier than before Delta became established. While deaths continue to rise, it is still a poor indicator due to how long it takes for someone with the virus infected to get seriously ill.

South Africa’s National Institute for Infectious Diseases compiles data on Covid-related deaths, hospitalisations and cases.

The figures reveal that Covid cases in the United States are falling over the past week, with the average of 17,440 cases compared to 20,791 one week ago.

The current country conducts approximately 58,000 swabs per day. That is roughly the same as in December, when cases shot up but fell 14,000 compared to a week earlier.

South African Covids cases fell again by 22% over the week. This raises hopes that their Omicron wave may be ending. 

According to South Africa’s Daily Covid figures, the number of cases has fallen by 22% compared to last weeks. This raises hopes that South Africa’s Omicron wave may be over. 

South Africa’s scientists discovered the variant and recorded 2199 cases of new infections in 24 hours. This is nearly half the number of the 26,976 infections that were confirmed on Wednesday.

A fifth fewer people were tested for the virus in the last 24 hours compared to the same period last week, but test positivity — the proportion of those tested who are infected — has been trending downwards for nine days.    

The number of hospitalisations has also declined slightly, with over 590 patients admitted to the hospitals in the country. This is according to data from National Institute For Communicable Diseases, (NICD).

But deaths – which lag two to three weeks behind the pattern seen in case numbers due to the delay in an infected person becoming seriously unwell – have risen.

Another 99 deaths due to Covid occurred on Wednesday, as opposed to the 53 recorded one week ago.    

Even though only 25% of South Africans are double-jabbed, and boosters are not given out in South Africa, the case numbers have fallen. 

This raises the possibility that Omicron waves from the UK will be brief-lived. Britain has a booster program which provides additional protection.

But the positivity rate — the proportion of swabs that detect the virus — is down on a week ago at 30.6 per cent, suggesting the drop in cases is real and not due to fewer tests being carried out. 

Broken down by province, there is a seven-day decrease in Covid cases across five of the nine country provinces.

It is at 60% lower week-on-week in epicentre Gauteng, where it drops from 9,956 cases per day to 4,088.

They are declining by 31% week-on-week in the North West, from 1,384 cases to 946, Limpopo is down 29%, from 885- 625 and Mpumalanga is down 28%, both 1,180- 848. In Free State, it’s down 10.5 percent, between 1,192- 1,066.

South Africa’s most recent breakdown of Covid testing by province is only December 18th, making it difficult to determine if the declines in these provinces were real or caused by a decrease in test numbers. 

Although the national optimism rate has increased in recent days, it is still below what it was a week earlier. 

About half of all swabs take place in epicentre Gauteng. This suggests that any decline in the number of cases could be due in part to drop in this province.

The country is seeing a decline in hospitalizations.

A drop in the number of people living in Gauteng’s epicentre has been recorded. They fell by a third to 392 per day, in one week.

However, Covid patients are still increasing on country’s hospital wards. On Monday, there were 9,300 patients, an increase of 7300 from a week before.

Figures show that more patients are in ICU or on ventilators. 613 people now reside in emergency rooms across the country, while 239 require the devices to aid them in breathing. 

Dr Groome said yesterday: ‘All indications are that we’ve seen the end of the — that we’ve surpassed the peak of infections in Gauteng. In terms of decreasing case numbers, this is very encouraging.

‘But I think we really do need to be cognizant that… people are now traveling, and there may be changes in terms of the number of people that may be testing and so some of the lower numbers may be due to the holiday season.’ 

These figures may be a sign of hope for Britain, which is currently being swayed by the Omicron variant.

Yesterday saw the surge in cases to over 100,000 since the outbreak, a surge of 35% on the previous week. 

In Omicron epicentre London cases hit their highest level ever recorded in a single 24 hour period, after 27,799 infections were detected. This level was higher than the 26,608 case record set 5 days ago and represents a 44% increase on last week.

However, some experts believe the UK’s Covid population is likely to be at a plateau. Yesterday, Professor Francois Balloux of University College London said that Omicron cases may be peaking.

It was not due to the testing capacity. He said that infection rates would need to increase further before the UK is overwhelmed.

Experts are divided about infection rates. Some say MailOnline cases peaked because of high immunity and people who limit their contact before Christmas. Others claim stagnant testing levels are masking increased case numbers.

Covid infection rates hovered around 90,000. They rose to above 100,000 in the past six days, but have been stable for the past week, at 1.5 million.

MailOnline spoke with Professor Alan McNally from the University of Birmingham. He said that UK has’maxed out its PCR testing capabilities and the result is positive cases seem flat.

He stated that despite data showing Omicron still doubles, the number of test conducted was flat over days. This means that there are no more tests we can do per day.

MailOnline has been told that Covid cases by Professor Francois Baloux at University College London.

He denied that UK’s swabbing capabilities were masking actual infection rates. He noted that 10-15% of PCR test results come back positive. Infections in the UK would need to escalate before they could use their covid-testing infrastructure.

Instead, he stated that high vaccine use amongst is suppressing infectious diseases.

Professor Balloux explained that Omicrons have a greater tendency to infect people who have already been immunized. However, there are three doses of vaccine which provide protection from infection.

“This could explain why Omicron circulates more favorably among young people.”