Delta variant rapidly becoming dominant strain in SA - UKZN's De Oliveira

COVID-19 cases in Limpopo, KwaZulu Natal, the Western Cape and Mpumalanga are being driven by the variant first detected in India.

FILE: A nurse from Lancet Nectare hospital performs a COVID-19 coronavirus test in Richmond, Johannesburg, on 18 December 2020. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The delta variant is now rapidly becoming the dominant coronavirus strain in South Africa, with rising prevalence in at least four provinces.

COVID-19 cases in Limpopo, KwaZulu Natal, the Western Cape and Mpumalanga are being driven by the variant first detected in India.

This comes as government prepares to open vaccination registration to 35- to 49-year-olds from 15 July, with rollout planned from August.

KwaZulu-Natal University's Professor Tulio de Oliveira said that while the third wave had been extremely severe in Gauteng, there had been a slight decrease in the reproductive rate that showed how fast cases are growing.

“The highest in Limpopo, followed by KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape. Despite the numbers not being extremely high there, we are seeing a very fast rate, it’s really caused by the delta variant.”

The director of KRISP, a research and innovation sequencing platform, said that the Medical Research Council had noted concern around deaths in Gauteng.

“The number of excessive beds in Gauteng has been the highest of the history.”

However, De Oliveira said that other variants of concern were very rare, such as delta plus or lambda that had not been detected in South Africa.

WATCH: Lambda, the new COVID variant, not yet detected in SA – Minister Kubayi

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