All You Need To Know About The New Covid Variant Found In South Africa

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A new variant of the coronavirus called – B.1.1.529 – has been identified in South Africa. Scientists say B.1.1.529 carries a high number of mutations in its spike protein, which plays a key role in the virus’ entry into cells in the body.

First identified in South Africa this week, the strain has spread to nearby countries, including Botswana. In South Africa, over 100 cases have been linked to this variant.

The UK, Singapore and Israel have stopped flights from South Africa, Botswana and four other African nations. While India on Thursday called for rigorous screening of passengers from South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong.

The ministry Friday added Hong Kong and Israel to the list of countries from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India, including post-arrival testing.

What WHO has said?

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday designated the new Covid-19 variant as a “variant of concern”. The WHO said in a statement that it had assigned the B.1.1.529 variant the Greek letter Omicron.

The WHO, which met on Friday to assess the new Covid strain, said it would share further guidance for governments on the action they can take.

“Early analysis has revealed that the new variant has a large number of mutations that require and will undergo further study. It’ll take a few weeks for us to understand what impact this variant has. Researchers are working to understand more,” WHO’s Spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said.

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