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Africa News of Sunday, 28 November 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

New COVID variant: US salutes South African scientists for alerting the world

The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa The Omicron variant was first detected in South Africa

The United States of America has formally saluted the South African government and its scientists for their role in reporting on the latest COVID-19 variant.

US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, disclosed via Twitter that he has spoken to his counterpart over the southern African nation's goodwill towards fighting the Coronavirus.

"I spoke with South African Foreign Minister Pandor to express our deep appreciation for the professionalism and transparency of the South African government and South Africa’s scientists in our shared fight against COVID-19," Blinken's tweet read.

South Africa earlier this week reported a deadlier strain of the COVID-19 virus, a move that led to a European Union flight ban slapped on it and other countries in the region.

The United States has also imposed a similar measure as have a number of other countries across the world. The ban has adversely affected flights to and from the country.

South Africa is the continent's most impacted nation relative to COVID-19 caseload and other statistics.

What the WHO wrote about the new Omicron variant

The Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) is an independent group of experts that periodically monitors and evaluates the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and assesses if specific mutations and combinations of mutations alter the behaviour of the virus.

The TAG-VE was convened on 26 November 2021 to assess the SARS-CoV-2 variant: B.1.1.529.

The B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 November 2021.

The epidemiological situation in South Africa has been characterized by three distinct peaks in reported cases, the latest of which was predominantly the Delta variant.

In recent weeks, infections have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection of B.1.1.529 variant. The first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on 9 November 2021.

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