Scientists in South Africa say they have detected a new Covid-19 variant with multiple mutations, blaming it for a surge in infection numbers.
Virologist, Tulio de Oliveira, told a news conference that “unfortunately we have detected a new variant which is a reason for concern in South Africa.”
Oliveira said the variant, which goes by the scientific lineage number B.1.1.529, “has a very high number of mutations.”
He added that it has also been detected in Botswana and Hong Kong among travellers from South Africa.
Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the variant was of “serious concern” and behind an “exponential” increase in reported cases.