South African Covid variant discovered in Switzerland

Business Insider SA
  • The Swiss government confirmed that it found South Africa's new Covid-19 variant, which believed to be more transmissible, in two samples.
  • One of the people who tested positive for the new variant, is currently in France.
  • Unlike the UK, Switzerland has not instituted a travel ban on SA in response.
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The Swiss government has confirmed that its scientists found South Africa's new Covid-19 variant in two samples.

The new variant - called 501.V2 - is believed to be more transmissible. It has between 10 and 20 new mutations, with higher viral loads than the original virus. 

Samples from two people tested positive for South Africa's variant, the government said in a statement on Sunday.

One of the people lives in the canton of Schwyz, in central Switzerland, while the other person is currently in France. The Swiss government says it is contact with the French authorities.

It’s not clear whether the two people travelled from South Africa. While not adding to new travel restrictions from South Africa, the Swiss government confirmed that anyone entering the country from South Africa must go into quarantine for ten days. This restriction has been in place since 14 December.

READ | All the countries that have banned SA flights – or may soon – due to the new corona variant

On Thursday, the UK government placed an immediate travel ban on South Africa after discovering two samples containing the new variant.

All flights from South Africa have been banned, and South Africans won’t be allowed to enter England.

READ | England bans flights from South Africa, as well as SA visitors, from today due to new Covid variant

The Swiss government also confirmed two cases of the UK Covid variant in the past week.

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