WHO to Hold Emergency Meeting to Discuss New COVID-19 Variant in South Africa

Story Highlights
  • WHO monitoring the new Covid variant, schedules a meeting to discuss.
  • The variant, called B.1.1.529, has been detected in South Africa in small numbers.
  • UK bans flights from 6 South African nations with effect from Friday.

The WHO is expected to call for an emeregncy meet to discuss the rapidly spreading coronavirus strain found in South Africa and Botswana.’Closely monitoring’ the variant, the top health body on Friday, will determine if it should be designated a variant of “interest” or of “concern”. Early analysis shows that this variant has a large number of mutations that require and will undergo further study,” the officials informed.

Scientists in South Africa, claimed to have detected a new variant with large number of mutations.Tulio de Oliveira, a bio-informatics professor who runs gene-sequencing institutions at two South African universities, briefed about the variant called B.1.1529, which carries an unusually large number of mutations and is “clearly very different” from earlier variants.National Institute for Communicable Diseases reported 22 cases in South Africa, 2 from Hong Kong and 1 from Botwsana.

Hours after the detection of the variant, UK on Thursday evening called to ban flights from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana from 1200 GMT on Friday. Being the hardest hit region, this decision aims to control the stubbornly high caseload recorded in the nation.

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