In an already panic-stricken world which is just beginning to come to terms with the fact that there is a new variant of the coronavirus spreading in the UK, and that this may be just the beginning of this harrowing global pandemic, South Africa has sent a wave of alarm across the globe as it is beginning to report cases of another such variant.
A new, potentially more infectious variant of the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19 has been found in Britain in cases linked to South Africa, British health secretary Matt Hancock said on Wednesday. South Africa’s health department said last week that a new genetic mutation of the virus had been discovered that might be the reason for the surge of cases there. We’ve detected two cases of another new variant of coronavirus here in the UK. Both are contacts of cases who have travelled from South Africa over the past few weeks”, Hancock announced during a media briefing.
Britain is already battling with the surge in cases due to a new mutant found in the country which itself is up to 70% transmissible, and Hancock said the new variant appeared to have mutated further and was more infectious.
This new mutant is likely to be more transmissible, may hit young people harder, and maybe slightly more resistant to vaccines, scientists in South Africa believe.
South Africa’s health minister late Wednesday announced an “alarming rate of spread” in that country, with more than 14,000 new cases confirmed in the past day, including more than 400 deaths. The country has more than 950,000 infections and COVID-19 is “unrelenting,” Zwelini Mkhize said in a statement.
Scientists in South Africa have assured that they are working “calmly and methodically” to fully understand and battle the variant, which has already swept across a huge part of the country.