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 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.”
Latest SA stats:
The country has since the last reporting period recorded 2 191 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the cumulative number of cases in the country to 1 592 817.
The death toll has climbed to 54 724 after 37 new deaths were also reported on Saturday.
Most of the new fatalities are from the Limpopo, which has recorded 26 deaths.
“Today, 37 more COVID-19 related deaths have been reported: Eastern Cape 0, Free State 2, Gauteng 21, KwaZulu-Natal 7, Limpopo 0, Mpumalanga 0, North West 0, Northern Cape 7 and Western Cape 0 which brings the total to 54 724 deaths. ” says Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, in a statement.
Below are the latest COVID-19 stats:
South Africa has conducted 10 861 611 tests so far, with 25 934 tests conducted in the last 24-hour cycle.
The private sector accounts for 60% (6 089 547) of total tests, while the public sector accounts for 40% (4 772 064 ).
The country’s recoveries stand at 1 514 088, with a recovery rate of 95%.
The number of healthcare workers vaccinated under the Sisonke Protocol currently stands at 382 480.
The Gauteng provincial government says it has additional healthcare capacity in anticipation of any surge in COVID-19 cases.