This new strain is called “variant 501.V2”. It was updated by a team of South African researchers, who sequenced hundreds of samples across the country. About two months ago, they spotted this new, more contagious form of virus that is spreading through the population.(GETTY IMAGES)
The World Health Organization (WHO) was immediately informed of this development, as was Britain, which is also affected by a new variant of Covid-19. Most worrying is that South African doctors have also observed a change in the epidemiological panorama, with younger patients, without comorbidities and who develop severe forms of the disease.
The South African authorities explain that in addition to this new variant, the arrival of the southern summer that favors the mixing of the population and the tiredness of people with a relaxation of respect for barrier gestures, are also responsible for the degradation of health in the country.
The latest figures are very worrying. Last Sunday, the country crossed the threshold of 10,000 cases in a single day. When the first wave peaked last July, at its peak, they had 12,000 cases a day.
South Africa’s positivity rate is now 21%, while the ideal rate, according to Johannesburg officials, was just 10%. The most affected region remains Cape Town, in the extreme south of the country, with one third of the new cases.
Nationally, the number of coronavirus deaths is now approaching 25,000. Result: South Africa has become the most affected country on the continent, ahead of Morocco, Egypt and Libya in particular.
So, inevitably, with this health situation that gets darker every day, the authorities are tightening the screw of social restriction measures, with a tougher curfew, occasional beach closings, bars will have to lower their curtains at 10 pm included on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.