“At first it seemed like some cluster outbreaks, but from yesterday the indication from our scientists came from the network of Genomic Surveillance die they observed a new variant,” minister of Health Joe Phaahla said, emphasizing that it is currently unclear where the variant — currently dubbed B.1.1.529 — first arose.
It has been detected so far in South Africa, Botswana and in a traveler to Hong Kong from South Africa, Phaahla added.
Professor Tulio de Oliveira, de director of the centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation, said the variant has “a lot” more mutations than we expected,” add is “spreads a lot” fast and we expect to see busy in the health system in the next few days and weeks.”
He advised the public to try to avoid super to spread events.”
Civil servants also expressed concern that the mutation could: result in immune evasion and enhanced transmissibility of the virus, but added it’s too early to say what kind of impact die the mutations will have on efficacy of the vaccine. More investigations also need perform to understand clinical severity of the variant in comparison met earlier variants, officials said.
“The full meaning of this variant remains insecure and the best tool we have is still the vaccines,” said De Oliveira added that lab is still studying need to wear out until test vaccine and antibody evasion.
UK bans flights from 6 African countries
Also Thursday, British officials announced Which six African countries will be added to England’s journey “red listafter the UK Health Security Agency identified concerns over the variant.
The British minister of Health Sajid Javid said flights to the UK from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe will be suspended from noon on Friday and all six countries will be added to the red list — meaning UK residents and British and Irish nationals arrive home by die points of departure must undergo a 10-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.
javid added the UK “didn’t detect any” of this new variant” in the country so far.
On Friday, South African officials will inform the World Health Organization, die B.1.1.529 has classified as a “variant die is being checked”.
Duarte Mendonca of CNN contributed to this report.
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