B.1.617 variant not detected in SA yet but authorities on alert - Mkhize
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that this 'increase in detection at ports of entry is of deep concern' and he promised that government was attending to the matter with urgency.
JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that while the B.1.617 variant circulating widely in India had not been detected in South Africa yet, genomics teams were working on some samples to determine whether South Africa has been impacted.
The minister said that an air traveller who had recently returned from India via Doha was currently in isolation at a health facility after falling ill, while two others were currently asymptomatic and were isolating after travelling to that country.
All the crew on board a vessel which returned from India and arrived in Durban on Sunday have been quarantined after 14 staff members tested positive for COVID-19.
A person who died on board had been sent for a postmortem but due to sampling difficulties, authorities were still waiting for test results.
Mkhize said that this "increase in detection at ports of entry is of deep concern" and he promised that government was attending to the matter with urgency.
His spokesperson, Lwazi Manzi: "We have consulted the genomics teams and the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 so that we can get scientific guidance on how to deal with any potential risk of importation of variants of concern and also to be guided by science on managing travellers that come from countries where variants of concern are circulating widely."