The World Health Organization holds meeting on Friday to discuss dramatic increaseCOVID-19 cases at Africa South which has been attributed to a new variant of the virus.
Joe Phaahla, South African Minister of Health, identified the new variant as B.1.1 .529 and said it appears to be very contagious among young people.
The BBC reported that the new variant appears to be the most heavily mutated so far in the outbreak. James Gallagher, the health correspondent, wrote that a scientist described the variant as "horrible ".
"This variant allows us to surprised "said Tulio de Oliveira, director of the Center for South Africa 's Epidemic Response and Innovation. many more mutations than we expected.
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Minister of Health Joe Phaahla during an on-site visit to the Grand West Casino on August 20, 2021 in Cape Town Town, South Africa. (Photo by Brenton Geach / Gallo Images via Images)
Nature Magazine reported that the variant was first reported in Botswana earlier this month. The report says scientists are trying to determine whether the variant can somehow evade the immune response. A researcher from Johannesburg said: "We fly at high speed.
An overview of the Discovery Health Covid-19 vaccination site on October 21, 2021 in Sandton, South Africa. (Photo by Papi Morake / Gallo Images via Images)
Aris Katzourakis, virus evolution expert at the University of Oxford, said: "A burning question is whether this reduces the effectiveness of the vaccine because it has so many changes. "
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The British Government announced it was banning flights from South Africa and five other countriesfrom southern Africa starting at noon (1200 GMT) on Friday, and that anyone recently arriving from these countries would be invited to be tested for the coronavirus.
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UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the new variant "may be more transmissible" than the dominant delta strain, and "the vaccines we currently have may be less effective" against her.
The Associated Press contributed to this report