Covid-19 cases in South Africa are now over 1 million.
President Cyril Rhamaphosa is expected to announce new restrictions aimed at slowing the surge.
Official Covid-19 cases in South Africa have exceeded a million as the country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa ordered an emergency meeting of the national coronavirus command council.
The new variant, 501.V2, is highly contagious and mainly responsible for the strong resurgence experienced in certain areas. On December 12, the weekly rolling day average of cases per 100,000 people was at 10.4, now the number has doubled to 19.86.
Also read: Covid-19: Tighter restrictions as South Africa hit by a second wave of infections
Thus far, countries several countries across the globe have reported cases of the new Covid-19 variant. The first variant was discovered in the UK in mid-September and goes by the name VUI-202012/01 or B117 lineage. This is by far the most dominant strain experienced across the UK.
On December 24, a new strain of the Covid-19 was discovered in Nigeria - P681H. Experts say this strain is of a separate lineage and doesn’t spread as fast as the other two variants.
The South African variant is a much more mutated version of the UK variant. Many hospitals around the country are near full capacity with no sign of peaking anytime soon. An announcement on new restrictive measures is expected anytime soon from the South African president.
On Sunday evening, confirmed cases of Covid-19 in South Africa were at 1,004,431. This included 26,735 in a country with 60 million people. Economic sequencing points to a concentration of the new cases around Eastern Cape, Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal.
It hasn’t been ascertained if the new variant is equally as dominant in Gauteng province that includes Johannesburg.
Vaccines have not yet arrived in South Africa, but the president expects 10% of the country’s 60 million people to have undergone vaccination sometime in early 2021.
What is the new Covid-19 variant?
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