There is no indication that the coronavirus variant identified in South Africa is more transmissible than the one found in Britain, said Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) technical chief on COVID-19, on Tuesday, reported Reuters.
Notably, both South Africa and Britain have detected new Covid-19 variants in recent weeks that have resulted in a rapid surge in coronavirus cases.
The UK has reported more than 50,000 new Covid-19 cases daily for the last seven days. The total number of coronavirus cases in the country has crossed 2,713,563.
Considering a spike in the number of cases, the UK Prime Minister Bris Johnson has already re-imposed stricter measures to curb the spread of the virus. The government has imposed a nationwide lockdown till mid-February after the emergence of the mutated strain.
On Tuesday, Johnson announced a new stay-at-home lockdown as his medical chiefs warned that the country’s medical infrastructure is at danger of being overwhelmed by the rising infection rates.
Meanwhile, South African President Cyril Ramphosa has convened the National Coronavirus Command Council to strategize the country’s response to the rising infections. The COVId-19 death toll in South Africa crossed the 30,000 mark on Monday.
Late last month, the president announced that South Africa would move to an adjusted level 3 with immediate effect.
The adjusted level 3 regulations contain stricter restrictions and penalties for non-compliance with a view to curbing the spread of the virus.
The president also announced new curfew hours, further limitations on gatherings, and a complete ban on the sale of alcohol. He had previously said that these coronavirus regulations would be reviewed on 15 January.
There is a lot of uncertainty around the reopening of schools and educational institutions this month. Some private schools are scheduled to open next week and public schools are set to reopen sometime later this month.