UK, Indian Covid variants detected in S.Africa

Johannesburg, May 9 (IANS): Fifteen cases of the Indian and British Covid-19 variants have been detected in South Africa, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said.

According to Mkhize, the Network for Genomic Surveillance in South Africa confirmed four cases of the B.1.617.2 variant, which was first detected in India, were registered in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal and all the infected persons had a recent history of travelling from the South Asian nation, reports Xinhua news agency.

Of all the 11 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant which was first detected in the UK, eight were reported in the Western Cape, one in KwaZulu-Natal and two in Gauteng.

Mkhize said the British variant was spreading in the community.

"The B.1.1.7 variant has been detected in community samples and this therefore suggests that community transitions has already set it," he said.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said that work focusing on the variants is being done.

"We would like to assure the public that the institute is focusing their resources and research efforts towards understanding the variants and what the potential implications are for South Africa," said Professor Adrian Puren, the NICD's Acting Executive Director.

South Africa has so far recorded 1,594,817 Covid-19 cases with 54,724 deaths.




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