Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has questioned a statement made by UK Health Minister Matt Hancock.
This comes after SA was mentioned as the origin of a new Covid-19 strain that has now spread in the UK.
zanewsonline.co.za explores the latest updates on the Covid-19 pandemic below:
1. Mkhize questions UK on new strain claims
Minister Mkhize has questioned a statement made by Hancock over SA’s link to the new strain of Covid-19.
The UK Health Minister recently commented in a press briefing that a second new strain of the virus has been detected in the country after first being discovered in SA.
Mkhize noted the comments but voiced concerns over the insinuation that SA was to blame:
“Our concern is that some of his utterances have created a perception that the variant in SA has been a major factor in the second wave in UK. This is not correct. There is evidence that the UK variant developed earlier than the South African variant.”
Mkhize pointed out that the evidence points to the virus strain originating from Europe itself, not SA:
“In addition, the UK variant has already been identified outside of the UK as reported by Prof Neil Ferguson, a top British scientist who told the UK’s science and technology committee two days ago (23 Dec 2020) that evidence from Denmark, a country with a relatively low infection rate, suggests that ‘almost certainly’ the new virus variant identified in the UK is already in the ‘great majority if not all’ European countries.”
2. Mkhize on latest statistics
Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize has once again updated South Africans on the latest Covid-19 statistics:
“As of today, a cumulative total of 983 359 COVID-19 cases have been identified with 14 796 identified since the last report.”
In addition to the infections, Mkhize has noted the latest number of fatalities recorded:
“Regrettably, we report 293 more COVID-19 related deaths: Eastern Cape 115 , Free State 6, Gauteng 23, Kwa-Zulu Natal 27, Limpopo 10, Mpumalanga 5 and Western Cape 107. This brings the total to 26 276 deaths.”
#COVID19 Statistics in SA as at 25 December.
Use the COVID Alert SA app to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community. Start using this privacy preserving app today. Add your phone to the fight! Download the Covid Alert SA app now! https://t.co/8YKEqaiiRF pic.twitter.com/slokIM1wpt
— Dr Zweli Mkhize (@DrZweliMkhize) December 25, 2020