Scientists in South Africa have detected a new coronavirus variant.
Speaking on the subject on Thursday, South African professor Tulio de Oliveira said that the B.1.1.529 variant, which has not yet been assigned a letter from the Greek alphabet by the World Health Organization (WHO), has unusually high mutations and is “clearly” very different from other variants.
Speaking at the same event, South African Health Minister Joe Phaahla said: “This is a mutation of serious concern. We were hoping that we would have a longer time between waves,” he said, adding that the next wave was previously predicted at the end of December or beginning of January.
This Emerging Variant Carries New Risks
This emerging new variant carries the risk of both initiating a fourth virus wave in South Africa and spreading to the whole world. WHO is also investigating whether the new variant spreads faster than its predecessors, whether it is more deadly. The UK and Israel are temporarily suspending flights from South Africa and five other African countries.
Finally, Hong Kong announced that 2 cases of this new variant of the coronavirus were detected. On the other hand, an increase in Covid-19 cases is observed in many regions of China, including Shanghai. Many governments in Europe are also considering measures such as mandatory vaccination, remote work, restrictions for the unvaccinated, and mask requirement.