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South Africa detects new Covid-19 strain with multiple mutations, blames it for sudden surge

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date
South Africa detects new Covid-19 strain with multiple mutations, blames it for sudden surge

Johannesburg: As Coronavirus cases rise in South Africa, Scientists on Thursday blamed a new Covid-19 variant with multiple mutations behind the surge in infection numbers.

Also Read :- Omicron strain has over 30 mutations, may escape vaccines: AIIMS chief

“Unfortunately we have detected a new variant which is a reason for concern in South Africa,” virologist Tulio de Oliveira told a hastily-called news conference.

The variant, which goes by the scientific lineage number B.1.1.529, “has a very high number of mutations,” he said.

It has also been detected in Botswana and Hong Kong among travellers from South Africa, he said.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the variant was of “serious concern” and behind an “exponential” increase in reported cases.

Also Read :- Omicron scare: 15 days travel history, home Isolation must for S. Africa arrivals in Mumbai

Daily infections shot to more than 1,200 cases on Wednesday, from around 100 earlier this month.

South Africa last year detected the Beta variant of the virus although until now infection numbers have been driven by the Delta variant, which was originally detected in India.

South Africa has the highest pandemic numbers in Africa, notching up around 2.95 million cases, of which 89,657 have been fatal.

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