Ministerial Advisory Committee Co-chairperson, Koleka Mlisana, says South Africa should remain on high alert regarding the coronavirus variants circulating both in the country and abroad.
The death toll from COVID–19 related complications in South Africa is approaching 55 000.
There are concerns that the country could experience a substantial third wave of the virus.
Mlisana says it’s important for people not to drop their guard against the coronavirus.
The Department of Health has confirmed that variants of the COVID-19 virus first identified in the UK and India have been detected in South Africa.
The country has at least four cases reported of variants, with two in Gauteng and two in KwaZulu-Natal. They are all believed to have traveled from India.
While the numbers are small, many people are concerned that if not properly managed this may pose a greater risk for the country.
It comes after: the Department of Health confirmed (on Saturday) that variants of the COVID-19 virus first identified in the UK and India have been detected in South Africa.
The Department says, “The Network for Genomic Surveillance in South Africa (NGS-SA) confirmed today that 2 variants of concern, other than the B.1.351 already dominating in South Africa, have been detected. These are: B.1.1.7 (first detected in the UK)- 11 cases. B.1.617.2 (first detected in India)- 4 cases.”
“In addition, the B.1.351 (first detected here in South Africa) has been sequenced from a patient traveling from Bangladesh.”
The statement says, “The four cases of B.1.617.2 have been detected in Gauteng (2) and KwaZulu-Natal (2) and all have a history of recent arrival from India. All cases have been isolated and managed according to national
COVID-19 case management guidelines and contact tracing has been performed in order to limit the
spread of this variant.”
Regarding the variant first identified in the UK, the Department says,”Of the eleven cases of B.1.1.7, eight were detected in the Western Cape (with two having a history of travel from Bahrain), one was detected in KwaZulu- Natal and two were detected in Gauteng.”