Sumary of South African scientists detect new virus variant amid spike:
- JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A new coronavirus variant has been detected in South Africa that scientists say is a concern because of its high number of mutations and rapid spread among young people in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province, Health Minister Joe Phaahla announced Thursday.
- Scientists monitor for possible changes that could be more transmissible or deadly, but sorting out whether new variants will have a public health impact can take time.
- South Africa has seen a dramatic rise in new infections, Phaahla said at an online press briefing.
- The World Health Organization’s technical working group is to meet Friday to assess the new variant and may decide whether or not to give it a name from the Greek alphabet.
- The British government announced that it was banning flights from South Africa and five other southern African countries effective at noon (1200GMT) on Friday, and that anyone who had recently arrived from those countries would be asked to take a coronavirus test.
- U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said there were concerns the new variant “may be more transmissible” than the dominant delta strain, and “the vaccines that we currently have may be less effective” against it.
- We do expect to start seeing pressure in the healthcare system in the next few days and weeks.
- ”De Oliveira said that a team of scientists from seven South African universities is studying the variant.