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'Highly mutated' African Covid variant raising international alarms

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'Highly mutated' African Covid variant raising international alarms

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - International health experts are sounding the alarm about a new covid variant that is highly mutated and could be vaccine resistent. The new coronavirus variant has been detected in South Africa. Scientists say its a concern because of its high number of mutations and rapid spread among young people in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla announced Thursday that South Africa has seen a dramatic rise in new cases, adding that the new variant appears to be driving the spike. The British government announced that it was banning flights from South Africa and other countries that may be affected.

The Health Minister said the new variant, currently identified as B.1.1.529, has also been found in Botswana and Hong Kong, in travelers from South Africa. The World Health Organizations’s technical working group is going to meet on Friday to assess the new variant and the dangers it could pose. They are going to decide whether or not to give it a name from the Greek alphabet.