South Africa

Virus variant found in India now in three African countries

The coronavirus strain circulating in India has been detected in three African countries, according to the head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Africa CDC).

Authorities in Kenya, Uganda and Morocco have reported the presence of the variant known as B.1.617, John Nkengasong, Africa CDC director, said in an online briefing on Thursday. Five cases have been found in Kenya and one in Uganda, while the Moroccan government is “investigating some cases there”, he said.

Fearing an influx of infections and mindful of how transmissible the variant is, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are among countries that have temporarily banned flights from India.

Covid-19 strains first detected in the UK and SA have been reported in 20 and 23 African nations, respectively, according to Nkengasong.

African countries have administered 20.2-million of the 37.6-million vaccine doses they have received, covering 1.1% of the population of more than 1.3-billion, Nkengasong said. While Morocco and Kenya have distributed nearly 90% of their shots, the continent’s most populous nation — Nigeria — has only issued 1.2-million vaccines, or 29% of its allocation, he said.

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