New virus variant appears to emerge in Nigeria — Africa CDC

New virus variant appears to emerge in Nigeria — Africa CDC

A health care worker looks on as she attends to a COVID-19 patient at a special ward at Arwyp Medical Centre, in Kempton Park, South Africa, on December 25, 2020.

Sky News reported that two COVID-19 cases came from two London travellers from South Africa at the beginning of the month. Infections across the continent have risen 10.9% over the past four weeks, Nkengasong said, including a 52% increase in Nigeria and 40% increase in South Africa.

The detection of the new variants in Nigeria and South Africa prompted an emergency meeting of the Africa CDC this week, Nkengasong said. He warned that within days the number of daily positive cases recorded in SA will surpass that of the peak during the first wave.

South Africa on Friday rejected the United Kingdom's claim that a new coronavirus strain that emerged in the country was more risky.

But there is little sign of the tough restrictions that many African countries imposed early in the pandemic, which were seen as causing severe pain to economies and millions of informal workers.

A similar result was found in the new strain found in South Africa, which was initially believed to be more transmissible among young people. He said South Africa needs to double down on virus control efforts "because already many hospitals in many parts of the country are extremely stretched".

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, in a Christmas message to the country on Friday urged all South Africans to take preventive measures to slow the spread of the virus.

In addition, Mkhize unfolded, 'we are also concerned that the rhetoric is developing that the South Africa's 501.V2 SARS-CoV-2 strain is more contagious than the United Kingdom strain or may cause more severe morbidity and mortality'.

There is no evidence that the new strain of the coronavirus identified in South Africa is more risky or contagious than its British cousin, defended the South African Minister of Health Zwelini Mkhize, responding to his British counterpart.

"This is not correct".

He also said he was against travel bans.

Britain's transport minister said he had ordered flights and arrivals from South Africa to be halted after confirmation that the mutated strain had spread to the UK.

Close contacts of those with the new variant and all those who have been in South Africa in the last fortnight, or were in close contact with someone who had, must quarantine, he said. "We'll be working throughout the whole holiday season on this research".

Nigeria's principal COVID-19 investigator has just released publicly the genomic sequences of the new variant, he added.

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