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Covid-19: S/Africa records highest Delta variant-related infections

India's coronavirus Delta variant, now in South Africa, is the main cause of this country's record high number of new…

India’s coronavirus Delta variant, now in South Africa, is the main cause of this country’s record high number of new Covid-19 infections, Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said on Saturday.Kubayi-Ngubane said this when she updated the nation on the country’s response to the pandemic whose medical care facilities are being overwhelmed by the increasing number of admitted patients nationwide.

According to the minister, the Delta variant, first identified in India where it went on a rampage in killing thousands recently, was now driving South Africa’s third wave surge which has seen the country averaging over 17,000 infections over 100 deaths daily in the past week.

South Africa’s third wave of Covid-19 deaths and infections was therefore on course to surpass the peak of the second wave due to the arrival of the Delta variant infections, she warned.

“Our scientists, after their sequencing experiments, have discovered that we have a new variant that is prevalent in our country,” Kubayi-Ngubane said.

She added: “And what you should know is that, it is not a new variant existing only in South Africa. But, rather, it also exists in other countries” like Britain and the United States of America.

Due to this, the third wave surge recorded 18,762 new Covid-19 cases, and 215 people succumbed to virus-related deaths in the past 24 hours — bringing the total number of fatalities to 59,621 to date, the minister told the nation.

Local health expert Tulio de Oliveira, who is member of the ministerial advisory committee on Covid-19, said the Delta variant was much more transmissible than other variants and could reinfect people who have been sick from the previous variants.

De Oliveira told the briefing called after an emergency meeting of the national coronavirus command council that the Delta variant was now the dominant strain circulating in South Africa.

“It is really, really highly transmissible, more than all other variants — including the one in South Africa,” De Oliveria said, adding that the Pfizer vaccine being administered in the country was up to 96% effective against the Delta variant.

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