A new strain of Covid-19 has been discovered by South African researchers, and it’s spreading fast, says Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize.
South Africa has officially entered its second wave, Mkhize announced last week. He says it seems this new strain is driving the new round of infections.
Along with Professor Salim Abdool Karim, Mkhize briefed the media on Friday about the new strain, which was identified by KwaZulu-Natal university researchers.
Respected scientist Abdool Karim, who heads the government’s Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC), warned “we do not have good news for you”.
The virus is “spreading faster than the first wave,” he said, and is “probably across most of SA by now”.
Mkhize stressed there was “no reason for panic” and people should continue to social distance and wash their hands.
South Africa had 892,813 Covid-19 cases on Thursday night, of which over 9,000 were recorded since Wednesday. There have been 24,011 deaths in total, of which 184 happened in the last 24 hours.
President Cyril Ramaphosa last week announced beach closures in the Eastern Cape and Garden Route, as well as localised emergencies in Nelson Mandela Bay, the Garden Route and the Sarah Baartman region in the Eastern Cape.