SAMA: New Covid-19 variant 'no reason to panic'

SAMA: New Covid-19 variant 'no reason to panic'

With the fourth wave of infections slowly becoming a reality, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has confirmed the emergence of a new variant in the country. 

Covid Coronavirus Testing -AFP

The NICD confirmed the new variant on Thursday.

Chairperson of the South African Medical Association (SAMA) Dr Angelique Coetzee says the new variant is from Bostwana.

“From SAMA’s side we are aware of the new variant that’s in South Africa from Botswana. There are currently six cases in the country.”

Coetzee says that the variant allegedly originated from an HIV positive patient, but the number of cases is not a major concern yet.

“Six cases are not a lot, and this variant seems to have originated from an HIV positive patient. (Because we) currently only have six cases, we don’t have a clinical picture yet. Therefore we can’t tell patients that if you are suffering from the following symptoms, please see your doctor.”

She further adds that while there has been a general spike in Covid-19 cases in the country, there is no spike in hospital admissions.

“What we do know is that a since last week, we have seen an increase in patients with Covid-19. The symptoms are mostly mild symptoms, and we haven’t seen a spike in hospital admissions.

“We don’t know whether this (spike in cases) is the new variant or not, they still busy with sequencing and will know most probably by the end of next week. For now, we don’t want the public to panic as it is only six cases.”

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