a new form of coronavirus have been found in South Africa, troubling scientists who say the strain has a high number of mutations and is possibly leading to a spurt in new cases around Johannesburg.
Until the World Health Organization decided to give it a letter of the Greek alphabet, the version, which is being referred to as the B1.1. and cases are also connected. Botswana among country travelers.
“You can rest assured that as people move forward over the next coming weeks, this [variant] It will all be over,” said Dr. Joe Fahla, South Africa’s health minister. said At a media briefing on Thursday. “In the last four or five days, there has been a rapid increase” [in cases],
Several variants of COVID-19 have been a cause for concern because the virus mutates, including the highly transmissible delta strain. The mutation is a major fear among health officials, who worry that new strains of the coronavirus may undermine the effectiveness of vaccines, which have helped reopen society and limit serious illness and death among people. is of.
Professor Tulio de Oliveira, from South Africa’s Network for Genomic Surveillance, said the new variant, announced on Thursday, has “a very unusual constellation of mutations”, including more than 30 mutations in its spike protein, which have been linked to transmission of the virus. Is responsible.
“We can see that the variant is potentially spreading very rapidly,” de Oliveira said at the briefing, To AP. “We expect to start seeing pressure in the healthcare system over the next few days and weeks.”
Cases in South Africa have been low in recent months, but the country is dealing with a new wave of infections that has risen sharply this week. Over 1,200 cases were found on Wednesday, with the figure rising to nearly 2,500 on Thursday.
The technical working group of WHO will meet on Friday regarding the new variant and assess it. But amid concerns over its spread, the British government took immediate steps, Ban on flights from South Africa and in five other African countries from Friday afternoon. Those who have recently come from the nations will have to take a test.
Fahla said the latest surge should encourage South Africans to turn their attention to vaccination to prevent COVID-19 infection, calling the jabs a “critical tool” to end the pandemic. .
“The fact of the matter is that we also have an additional tool, which is vaccination, which will help protect us from serious illness and hospitals, ICUs and falling prey to this virus,” Fahla said.
About this 41% of South Africans Fully vaccinated against coronavirus.