S.Africa dismisses the claim about its Covid strain being more dangerous than UK strain

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South Africa’s Health Minister has dismissed the claim of the British counterpart that the new Covid-19 strain in the country is more dangerous and has higher transmission than a similar strain in spreading the UK.

Zwelini Mkhize said in a statement released late Thursday stated, “At present, there is no evidence that the 501.V2 (variant) is more transmissible than the United Kingdom variant — as suggested by the British Health Secretary.”

It further added, “There is also no evidence that (it) causes more severe disease or increased mortality than the UK variant or any variant that has been sequenced around the world.”

On Wednesday, as Matt Hancock announced the travel ban on South Africa, he said that the variant there was “highly concerning, because it is yet more transmissible, and it appears to have mutated further” which is much similar to the strain in Britain.

Mhize said that the words of the British minister have created a perception that the strain from South Africa has been a major factor in the second wave based in UK. He further highlighted that this is not correct.

He further said the British strain, which has a similar evolution to the South African one and which appeared in the early September in the southeastern county Kent – “

approximately a month before the South African variant appears to have developed.”

He further added, “Banning travel between UK and SA is an unfortunate decision.”

South Africa has been one of the most impacted country by Covid-19, with as many as one million overall cases of infection and a death toll of 26,000.

Nearly 14,000 cases were identified on each of the past two days which when compared to the earlier days of week was amid 8,000 – 10,000. Mhize said the new restrictions would be important to slow the transmission of the virus.

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