South Africa Covid Variant: What This New Strain Holds?

South Africa Covid Variant: What This New Strain Holds?

WHO is monitoring the latest Covid-19 variant B.1.1.529 which was first detected in South Africa. The World Health Organization held a meeting on the latest South Africa covid variant on 26.11.2021 (Friday) to talk about if the highly mutated strain will turn a variant of emphasis or a variant to take seriously a top official asserted.

State Of The Latest South Africa Covid Variant

The latest covid variant is the highly mutated version that has been discovered as of now. This strain was first identified in South Africa at the beginning of the last week and it has already spread to the neighboring nations that include Botswana, where it was reported in people who are completely vaccinated. 

The new South Africa covid variant has been red flagged by the scientists over a crucial high number of raised mutations that might turn the virus more resistant to vaccines, raise its transmissibility and lead to more crucial symptoms of Covid-19. According to Maria Van Kerkhove who is the Infectious Disease Epidemiologist and COVID-19 Technical Lead at the WHO,

"There are fewer than 100 whole genome sequences that are available. We don’t know very much about this yet. What we do know is that this variant has a large number of mutations. And the concern is that when you have so many mutations, that can have an impact on how the virus behaves.”

She said presently the researchers were coming together to evaluate where these spike and mutation proteins are and what that potentially may imply for COVID19 therapeutics, diagnostics, and vaccines.

Kerkhove further said that WHO colleagues in South Africa are aiming to undertake a neutralization research that will require a few weeks for them to evaluate what implications this variant has on any potential vaccines.

Focusing that a great deal of work is afoot on the latest South Africa covid variant, Kerkhove told the WHO Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution is talking about this with colleagues residing in South Africa. She further said that, 

“We’re also meeting again tomorrow. We’re calling a special meeting to discuss this, not to cause alarm, but just because we have this system in place, we could bring these scientists together and discuss what does it mean and also can set the timeline for how long it will take for us to get those answers”.

So presently, it is a variant that is under screening. The TAG Virus Evolution working group will talk about if it will change into a variant of interest or a variant of concern. And if that is the scenario, then WHO will give it a Greek name. But it is something to look for the timing. 

Kerkhove further noted that it is nice that these forms of variants are being caught as that implies there is a system in place that is operating. The World Health Organization has said that only 27% of health workers in Africa have been completely vaccinated against COVID-19, keeping the bulk of the working population on the frontlines versus the pandemic unprotected.

After nearly four months of a sustained reduction, COVID-19 cases in the normal population in Africa have increased. For the first time since the peak of the third wave in August, South Africa covid cases have risen, jumping to 48% in the week ending on November 21 as compared with the previous week.

As of now, more than 227 million covid vaccine doses have been allotted in Africa. In 39 nations that offered data, 3.9 million doses have been allotted to the health workers. According to Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa,

“With a new surge in cases looming over Africa following the end-of-year festive season, countries must urgently speed up the rollout of vaccines to health care workers”.

As per the report issued by the World Health Organization, the shipment of vaccines has been on the rise for the past 3 months. Africa has gained 330 million doses from the COVAX Facility. Of these nearly 83% of vaccines have been offered since August alone. As the supply of vaccines picks up, addressing the increased bottleneck and escalating rollouts became more important.

South Africa Covid Variant: Sport Set Shutdown In The Country

The South African sport witnessed a shutdown on Friday because of the detection of the latest South Africa covid variant, with its rugby teams confused to leave before any travel guidelines restrictions are imposed and the initial event of the golf’s latest look DP World Tour under threat. 

4 rugby teams were scheduled to play South African opposition against United Rugby Championship but Welsh clubs Scarlets and Cardiff asserted that they were searching to exit as Britain may impose travel restrictions on foreigners. Cardiff on Twitter said,

With the situation in South Africa having changed so quickly, we are now looking to repatriate our staff ASAP.”

They further said,

"For concerned families and friends, please rest assured that our focus is to ensure the safety and welfare of our people and will keep you updated with any developments. Scarlets said they too were trying to leave as quickly as possible. Following the news of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa, Scarlets would like to assure families and friends that we are making every effort to get our touring party back home to the UK as soon as possible."

Germany To Ban Travelers For The New South Africa Covid Variant

Germany is planning to ban most of the travelers from South Africa to prevent the spread of the latest covid-19 variant with a huge number of mutations, according to Jens Spahn, the acting Health Minister of Germany. 

As per the latest regulations that started from Friday night will be imposed on South Africa and the neighboring nations where only German nationals will be offered the permission to enter. They must be in quarantine for 14 days on arrival even if they are completely vaccinated. He said,

"The last thing we need now is an introduced new variant that causes even more problems."

Indian Prime Minister Chairs Meeting On Covid-19

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi chaired a crucial meeting on the Covid scenario and the vaccination scenario is the nation with the top government official, as per sources. The meeting arises in between the increasing global concerns over the latest variant of covid in South Africa. The South Africa covid variant name is “Omicron” which has been kept by the World Health Organization and is categorized as a highly transmissible virus of concern. 

The meeting on South Africa covid variant, India was attended by Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, PK Mishra, NITI Aayog member (health) Dr. V K Paul, and Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan among others. 

India witnessed a single day increase of 8,318 new covid infections, taking the total tally of the nation to 3,45,63,749, while the count of active covid cases has decreased to 1,07,019 which is the lowest in the past 541 days as per the data uploaded by the Union Health Ministry. 

The death rate due to this disease has increased to 4,67,933 with 465 daily casualties being reported. The total number of covid vaccine doses that have been allotted in this country as of now has crossed 120.96 crores as per the report by the ministry.

The Bottom Line

The latest covid variant grew immensely in South Africa and its neighboring countries. This latest South Africa covid variant is said to be more transmissible and has been termed as a critical variant. Many activities in the country have been paused because of this rising coronavirus scenario and countries like Germany have imposed travel restrictions for the travelers from South Africa to prevent further spread of this variant.

Frequently Asked Questions On South Africa Covid Variant

1. Will there be new COVID-19 variants?

A new variant of covid has already been found in South Africa which has been named “Omicron” by the WHO. This variant is said to be more transmissible and critical.

2. Can the coronavirus disease be transmitted through water?

Drinking water does not imply transmitting COVID-19. And, if you swim in a pool or in a pond, there are no chances for you to get COVID-19 via water. But if you go to a swimming pool, which is filled with people, and if you encounter an infected person then you can catch covid.

3. What is the new coronavirus called?

The South Africa covid variant name is “Omicron” which has been kept by the World Health Organization and is categorized as a highly transmissible virus of concern.

Alessia Braun

Alessia Braun is a health, fitness, and beauty influencer who wishes to share her knowledge through her articles in News Magnify.

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