Covid-19: New Covid-19 Variant Identified in SA.

On early hours of Wednesday, an increase of 1275 new Covid cases, which represents a 3.6% positivity rate. A further 22 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 89 657 to date, NICD reported.

A strange covid-19 variant have been identified in South Africa. The Variant in question, B.1.1.529 has been found in Botswana and Hong Kong and has an extremely hight number of mutations, eNCA says.

Due to the high number of mutations, there is a doubt if the current programmes of covid-19 vaccines in South Africa will work against the newly discovered variant.

Professor Alex van den Heever of the Wits School of Governance says it is still early days, so the question is out on whether this variant escapes the current vaccines in SA.

“It is worrying that such a variant has occurred, but I think it is also inevitable in a way that we are going to see this. The real question is whether past variants and vaccines will still protect us against this particular variant. And I haven’t really seen any analysis of that yet,” he said.

“The question also is whether or not this particular variant is going to be more infectious than, for instance, the Delta variant, and therefore might actually spread very quickly. We don’t know,” he added urging SA to keep a close watch on new variants in the genomic analysis.

NICD acting executive director, Prof Adrian Puren, said they had observed an increase in the seven-day moving average of new Covid cases, and the percentage testing positive in Gauteng, particularly in Tshwane among 10 to 29 age group over the past week.

The NICD has also identified a cluster among the 20 to 44 age group at an institute of higher education in Tshwane.

Furthermore, immediate decision making and action taken by the officials will determine if SA will be heading into a fourth wave around the festive season in the coming weeks.

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