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SAfrica picks up the first cases of coronavirus variant from India

South Africa’s health ministry said on Saturday that it had discovered the first four cases of a new variant of coronavirus that originated in India and was responsible for an increase in infections and deaths in the Asian country.

Testing had also totaled 1

1 cases of variant B.1.1.7 first detected in the UK, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

“The Network for Genomic Surveillance in South Africa today confirmed that two variants of concern have been identified, apart from B.1.351, which is already dominating in South Africa,” said Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.

The four positive cases were discovered in the provinces of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, and all had a history of travel to India, which on Saturday recorded the highest death on COVID-19 ever at 4,187 deaths ever. Read more

Of the 11 people infected with the British variant, eight were found in the Western Cape, Mkhize said, adding that the B.1.1.7 strain was detected in community samples and that this proposed transmission of community had already entered .

South Africa’s second wave was Africa’s worst hit country in terms of infections and deaths and was driven by its own variant, which quickly dominated infections nationwide.

South Africa has ordered tens of thousands of vaccine doses from Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer (PFE.N) as it looks to increase its slow mass vaccination campaign with only 382,480 frontline health workers inoculated out of a population of 60 million.

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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