South Africa’s Health Minister, Joe Phaahla has recently announced that a new coronavirus variant has been found and detected in the country.
According to scientists, the new variant is a concern because it mutates in high numbers and has spread rapidly among the younger population in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province.
The COVID-19 virus evolves as fast it spreads and forms many new variants, including the most worrying mutations.
Scientists continue to monitor the possible changes that could be rapidly transmissible or deadly. However, categorizing if the new variant will impact people’s lives can take a lot of time.
Mr. Phaahla, at an online briefing, said that South Africa is witnessing a dramatic rise in new cases of the new coronavirus variant.
There has been an exponential rise in the last four to five days, adding that the new variant seems to be spreading fast and increasing the number of cases.
South African scientists are evaluating what percentage of the new cases have been instigated by the new variant.
The newly identified variant termed ‘B.1.1.529’ has also been previously found in Botswana and Hong Kong in travelers from South Africa, he said.
The technical working group of the World Health Organization was set to meet to judge the new variant and decide if it should be labelled from the Greek alphabet or not.
After hearing the news from South Africa, the British Government announced banning flights coming from South Africa and five other southern African countries. It is also asking the people who have recently travelled from these countries to get a coronavirus test done at the earliest.
Sajid Javid, U.K. Health Secretary, said in a statement that the new variant could be more transmissible and hazardous than the dominant delta variant. Also, vaccines which are currently available may be less effective in fighting it.
Source Credit - https://www.nbcnews.com/news/africa/south-african-scientists-detect-new-virus-variant-spike-rcna6766