In South Africa, a similar version of the virus has emerged, sharing one of the mutations seen in B.1.1.7., according to scientists who detected it. That variant, known as 501.V2, has been found in up to 90 percent of the samples whose genetic sequences have been analyzed in South Africa since mid-November.
The British authorities said they have detected two cases of the variant identified in South Africa. In both cases, the infected people had been in contact with people who had traveled to Britain from South Africa in recent weeks. Switzerland, Finland, Australia, Zambia and France have also detected the variant.
And on Dec. 24, the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, announced the discovery of yet another variant, this one in Nigeria, called B.1.207.
UK reactivates emergency COVID-19 hospitals
Britain on Friday reactivated emergency hospitals built at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and shut primary schools in London - one of the areas worst-hit by a more infectious variant of the coronavirus. With more than 50,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 in the last four days, the health service said it was preparing for an anticipated rush of patients and needed more hospital beds. The announcement comes just days after the Royal London Hospital told staff in an email it was now in "disaster medicine mode" and unable to provide high standard critical care. The temporary 'Nightingale' hospitals at locations such as convention centers have barely been used since the start of the outbreak, but have remained on standby. According to the Royal College of Nursing, the country does not have enough nurses to staff the new sites, especially with many sick with the virus or forced to isolate. On schooling, the government said it had to shut all primary schools in London following a review of the transmission rates. …A last-minute move that the opposition Labour Party said would cause chaos for parents.
South Korea extends gatherings limit nationwide as Covid-19 cases continue to spike
South Korea recorded 824 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday, the nation’s Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Saturday.
Previously, South Korea boasted one of the world's most successful responses to the epidemic. Despite being among the first countries hit, it has managed to avoid the type of stringent lockdown measures seen elsewhere in the world, thanks largely to a combination of aggressive testing and sophisticated track-and-trace techniques.
But a rise in recent untraceable infections has concerned authorities and forced them to consider enacting a lockdown. Of the infections identified yesterday, 788 are locally transmitted.
To date, 62,593 cases of Covid-19 have been identified in South Korea, killing at least 942 people.
The KDCA said the Covid-19 variant found in South Africa has been detected from a person who arrived from South Africa on December 26. The person had tested positive upon arrival, according to the release.
Gatherings limited: South Koreans will be banned from gathering in groups of more than 5 people until January 17, according to the Health Ministry. The measure was already in place in the capital, Seoul, but has been extended to the entire country.