A new variant of COVID-19, B.1.1.529, was detected in South Africa after 22 people tested positive for it, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) said Thursday.
The institute indicated that it discovered the variant with an "extremely high" number of mutations and "a very high potential for propagation", after performing a genomic sequence in collaboration with private laboratories.
“It is not surprising that a new variant has been detected in South Africa. Although data is limited, our experts are working overtime with all established research systems to understand the new variant and the potential implications it may have. This is happening at a rapid pace and the public has our assurance that we will keep it up to date, ”said NICD Acting Executive Director Adrian Puren.
He indicated that there has been an increase in the cases of covid-19, particularly in the provinces of Gauteng, Northwest and Limpopo.
Michelle Groome, head of the institute's Public Health Research and Response Division, said health officials are on high alert, sequencing the positive COVID-19 samples.
“This means that individuals should be vaccinated, wear masks, practice hand hygiene, maintain social distancing and gather in well-ventilated spaces. Individual compliance with preventive measures can have a great collective impact in limiting the spread of the new variant.
After the announcement, the United Kingdom indicated that it prohibited the entry of passengers from six African countries (South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Botswana) as of Friday, when the WHO will meet to study this variant.
New wave rages in Europe
More than 1,5 million people have died in Europe due to the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, which has resurfaced in the region and forces the authorities to reinstate restrictions, often amid social unrest.
Morocco decided to suspend regular flights to and from France due to the resumption of the covid-19 pandemic, the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Relations reported on Thursday.
"This decision will take effect from November 26, 2021 from 23:59 p.m. until further notice," said an official statement released by the MAP press agency.
Faced with the fifth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the French government announced on Thursday a reinforcement of sanitary measures, without proposing a new confinement or curfew, opened the third dose of vaccines to all adults and reinstated the mandatory nature of masks. anywhere closed.
Portugal, a country with one of the highest anticovid vaccination rates in the world, announced on Thursday measures to curb the increase in infections by covid-19, including a week of restrictions after the end of the year holidays.
"We are seeing a worsening of the health situation," declared Prime Minister António Costa during a press conference after a council of ministers.
"It is the right time to adopt new measures" because "we are entering a phase of high risk," he stressed.
As of December 1, the government recommends teleworking, the mask will once again be mandatory indoors and the health pass will be required in restaurants and hotels.
The Netherlands or Latvia also announced "lockdowns", although less severe. Italy added new restrictions and the Czech Republic decreed a 30-day state of emergency and closed Christmas markets and nightclubs.
Precisely, Czech President Milos Zeman re-entered a hospital just hours after leaving it due to a covid infection
In Belgium, Prime Minister Alexander de Croo, who will urgently meet his cabinet on Friday to decide on new measures, said that the increase in infections and hospitalizations is "higher than the most pessimistic curves" outlined last week.
In the European Union at this time, 67,7% of the population has received at least two doses of the vaccine, although the differences are notable. For people vaccinated with an immunizer not recognized by the EU, a negative PCR test will be required to enter,