South Africa rejects UK claims over new coronavirus variant

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South Africa’s authorities rejected allegations {that a} new variant of the coronavirus discovered within the nation has contributed to a second wave of infections within the UK and criticized its resolution to impose journey restrictions.

A new virus variant that was detected within the UK has a mutation occurring at a web site widespread with the South African pressure, often called 501.V2, however they’re “two completely independent lineages,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize stated in an announcement late Thursday. There’s no proof that 501.V2 causes extra extreme illness or elevated mortality than another variant that’s been sequenced all over the world, he stated.

Mkhize’s feedback got here a day after UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock introduced that flights from South Africa shall be banned and that anybody who’s been there previously two weeks should quarantine instantly. Several different nations have additionally halted flights from South Africa.

The new UK pressure was recognized a couple of month earlier than the South African variant appeared to have developed, Mkhize stated, citing ongoing analysis by the Network for Genomic Surveillance in South Africa, which was launched in June. He described Hancock’s announcement as “unfortunate.”

“It is the widely shared view of the scientific community that, given the current circumstantial evidence, the risks of travel bans may outweigh the benefits, and that it is possible to contain the variants while sustaining international travel,” Mkhize stated. “We, therefore, maintain that non-pharmaceutical interventions and strict containment measures remain most important to reduce the risk of transmission.”

Coronavirus infections in South Africa have surged because the authorities eased most restrictions a number of months in the past, and a second wave is now coinciding with the summer time holidays. The Health Ministry registered a report 14,305 new circumstances on Thursday, bringing the cumulative complete to 968,563.

Experts in South Africa lead the sector of genomics surveillance alongside these from establishments in Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK, and have shared all info on the evolution of the coronavirus with the World Health Organization, Mkhize stated.

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