WHO COVID-19 Lead Gives Update on New Variant

The World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Technical Lead urged people to take steps to reduce transmission and get vaccinated on Thursday, November 25, following the discovery of a new variant of the virus in South Africa.

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said the organization had yet to determine if the B.1.1.529 variant should be designated a variant of “interest” or of “concern”.

In a press briefing on Thursday she said: “We don’t know very much about this [variant] yet. What we do know is that this variant has a large number of mutations. And the concern is that when you have so many mutations, it can have an impact on how the virus behaves.”

The variant has been identified in Israel and Hong Kong involving travellers from Malawi and South Africa.

The UK and the European Union were among countries that imposed travel restrictions on a group of southern African nations on Friday, November 26, in response to the new variant’s discovery. Credit: WHO via Storyful

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