South Africa is rushing to learn more about a new type of coronavirus that is highly contagious and vaccinated.
Only 53 cases related to the B.1.1.529 crisis have been confirmed in the country so far, but there are fears that the actual number could be too high.
COVID-19 DISEASES has spread rapidly among youth in Gauteng – South Africa’s most populous region.
And throughout the country, there has been an “increasing number” of diseases in five days or so.
Until recently, South Africa saw a bit of transmission time, and was recording about 200 confirmed cases per day.
But the daily number corona virus Disease rose more than 1,200 just Wednesday – and almost doubled to 2,465 on Thursday.
Experts believe that there is a “significant chance” that many of these cases will be linked to this.
In Gauteng, estimates indicate that 90% of new infections could be B.1.1.529 – and that the virus could be found in eight other parts of South Africa.
Scientists in the country are now trying to determine the extent of its spread, but this could take time.
The South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases states: “Although the data is limited, our experts are working hard with all the monitoring methods developed to understand new differences and potential causes.
And at a press conference in Johannesburg, Health Minister Joseph Phaahla warned: “Based on what has happened in the last 21 months or so, we can predict how this will happen.
“As I said, especially if, like the Gauteng-based Delta, you can be sure that people will start moving more in the next few weeks, this will be over.”
Professor Tulio de Oliveira, director of the South African Center for Epidemic Response and Innovation, says the new species has a “star cluster” of new mutations.
A team of scientists from seven universities is currently studying B.1.1.529, and has 100 complete genomes to date.
British authorities are keen to find new strains of the virus to be tested, but this could take four to six weeks.
Only 41% of South African seniors have been vaccinated – and the number of jabs given per day is as low as 130,000.
This is the lowest target the government wants for 300,000 people a day.
But this is not the reason for the decline – the country should delay reproduction so as not to “accumulate and store vaccines”.
Nicholas Crisp, senior vice president of the country’s health department, said: “We are getting the vaccine faster than we can use it now.”
South Africa has a population of 60 million. During the epidemic, it recorded more than 2.9 million cases of COVID and 89,000 deaths.
The health ministry said it was too early to say whether the government would impose strict sanctions on the changes.
UK analysts have described B.1.1.529 as “the worst we have seen so far” – and South Africa is one of only six African countries that have now been added to the red flag to travel.
Experts from the World Health Organization are meeting Friday to review the list, which on Wednesday was shown to be different.
If changed to a different one, it can be named after the Greek alphabet – and possibly called Nu.
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