The Director of the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Research Innovation Platform, Professor Tulio De Oliviera, has confirmed that a new variant of the coronavirus has been identified in South Africa and it is spreading rapidly.

This comes as the second wave of the coronavirus sweeps over the country.

Professor De Oliviera was part of the panel hosted by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize addressing the media in an online session.

Briefing below:

Prof De Oliviera says the new lineage of the coronavirus is dominating new infections in South Africa.

He says the new variant started spreading in the Eastern Cape and has spread along the Garden Route before spreading to KwaZulu-Natal, Cape Town and other parts of the country.

De Oliviera says the new coronavirus has a lot of mutations  or changes in its genetic material.

The Ministerial Advisory Committee’s Professor Salim Abdool Karim, who was also part of the panel, says the second wave in the Western Cape is much more than the first wave.

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande has committed more money for research into COVID-19.
Nzimande says, ” We are truly committed to support the work that is being done. Already a budget has been submitted to us, and Minister Mkhize we can commit R25 million for this work to be done in terms of further research and further studies.”