The South African government has denied allegations that a new variant of the corona virus found in the country has contributed to a second wave of infections in the UK and criticized its decision to impose travel restrictions.
A new virus variant found in the UK is known as 501.V2 on a site common to the South African strain, but they are “two completely independent lineages,” Health Minister Swell Mykes said in a statement late Thursday. . There is no evidence that 501.V2 causes more serious illness or increased mortality than any other type listed worldwide, he said.
Mkhise’s comments come a day after UK Health Secretary Matt Hong Kong announced that flights from South Africa would be banned and anyone who arrived there in the past two weeks should be immediately isolated. Many more countries have suspended flights from South Africa.
The New England strain was identified a month before the South African variant appeared to have grown, Mkhize said, citing research conducted by the Network for Genetic Surveillance in South Africa, which was launched in June. He described Hancock’s announcement as “unfortunate”.
“It is the widely shared view of the scientific community that, given the current circumstantial evidence, the risks of travel restrictions may outweigh the benefits, and there may be variations when it comes to sustaining international travel,” Mikes said. “Therefore, we maintain that non-drug interventions and strict control measures are paramount to reduce the risk of transmission.”
The corona virus outbreak in South Africa has increased since the government relaxed most of its restrictions several months ago, and the second wave is now coinciding with the summer holidays. The Ministry of Health on Thursday registered 14,305 new cases, bringing the total to 968,563.
Experts in South Africa are leading the field in genetic monitoring, with companies from Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom sharing all information about the evolution of the corona virus with the World Health Organization.