WHO confirms COVID-19 variant found in SA reported in 6 other African countries

The World Health Organization said that it was driving record numbers of infections across parts of Africa.

FILE: A healthcare worker organises COVID-19 tests that were just administered at United Memorial Medical Center COVID-19 testing site in Houston, Texas Thursday, 25 June 2020. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The coronavirus variant which has emerged in South Africa has health authorities worldwide worried.

Even with local experts saying it isn't more severe than the original virus, officials are still anxious. South Africa's Professor Tulio de Oliveira led the team that detected a new COVID-19 variant in December.

The World Health Organization said that it was driving record numbers of infections across parts of Africa.

The organization's regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said that six African countries had confirmed new cases of this variant.

"There's concern that it is circulating in other countries in Africa and is as yet undetected. At WHO, we are working with countries to help them identify if this variant or others are circulating, to safely transport samples to referral laboratories for sequencing and analysis."

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