Coronavirus variant detected in South Africa, what we know so far
- South Africa Health Minister warned against the potential severity of the new variant
- The new coronavirus variant has currently been tagged as B.1.1.529
- WHO will decide whether or not to give it a name from the Greek alphabet
A new variant of coronavirus has been detected in South Africa as the country witnessed an upward trend in the number of infections. Joe Phaahla, the Health Minister, warned against the potential severity of the new variant.
Here is what we know so far about the new variant of the deadly disease:
-The new coronavirus variant has currently been tagged as B.1.1.529. However, the World Health Organization's technical working group is to meet Friday to assess the new variant and is expected to decide whether or not to give it a name from the Greek alphabet.
-South Africa has seen a dramatic rise in new infections, Phaahla said at an online press briefing. "Over the last four or five days, there has been more of an exponential rise,” he said while emphasising that the new variant could play a role in the spike.
-Scientists say that the variant is a concern because of its high number of mutations and rapid spread among young people in Gauteng, South Africa's most populous province.
-Scientists in South Africa are working to determine what percentage of the new cases have been caused by the new variant, according to reports from Associated Press.
-The new variant has a “constellation” of new mutations, said Tulio de Oliveira, from the Network for Genomic Surveillance in South Africa, who has tracked the spread of the delta variant in the country.
-Experts say that a team of scientists from seven South African universities is studying the newly discovered coronavirus variant. They have 100 whole genomes of it and expect to have many more in the next few days.
After a period of relatively low transmission in which South Africa recorded just over 200 new confirmed cases per day, in the past week the daily new cases rapidly increased to more than 1,200 on Wednesday. On Thursday they jumped to 2,465.