Health Minister says origin of new variant is unknown, travel bans premature

This comes after a number of countries cancelled travel to South Africa due to the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant in this country

FILE: Health Minister Joe Phaahla at a briefing on 30 September 2021. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the origin of the new variant hasn't yet been determined and travels bans for South Africa are premature.

This comes after a number of countries cancelled travel to South Africa due to the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant in this country

Speaking to the media the Minister said more research is needed.

"When you do pick up a particular variant in a particular country you don't know where it originated. And by the time it's picked up by country A, you don't know where it started and you don't know even at the time how many other places in the country. In other countries how many other places that particular variant is already existing".

He also said South Africa is not seeing the number of infections experienced in some countries in Europe.

"That between Germany and Austria for instance put together share a daily infection rate combined of upwards of a 100,000 new infections per day".