South African Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize has strongly rejected his British counterpart’s claim that a new coronavirus variant in the country is more contagious.
In a statement, he said there is no evidence that the new variant causes more severe disease or increased mortality than the UK variant or any variant that has been sequenced around the world.
However, the unease over mutations in the virus -- first spotted in the UK later in South Africa -- continued to spread to more parts of the world. Germany, Switzerland, and Japan said that they have identified their first cases. Earlier, Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, and Belgium said they found the UK-linked variant.
Around 50 countries have so far banned travel to and from the UK over concerns about the new variant. The UK, in turn, has restricted travel from South Africa