By Staff, Agencies South Africa’s Covid-19 surge has taken the country to more than 1 million confirmed cases as President Cyril Ramaphosa called an emergency meeting of the national coronavirus command council. The country’s new variant of the coronavirus, 501.V2, is more contagious and has quickly become dominant in many areas of the resurgence, according to experts.
The warning came as South Korea became the latest country to detect cases of the Covid variant that is believed to have originated in the UK With South Africa’s hospitals reaching capacity and no sign of the new surge reaching a peak, Ramaphosa is expected to announce a return to restrictive measures designed to slow the spread of the disease.
South Africa announced a cumulative total of 1,004,431 confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Sunday evening. Mediclinic International, among the top three private hospital networks in the country, said on Sunday that a severe rise in cases had placed a very heavy strain on available healthcare resources including staff, equipment and beds to provide intensive treatment for seriously ill patients.
“The numbers of patients seeking care within our hospitals has exceeded previous numbers during the first peak and the majority of our ICU and high-care units are operating at capacity,” the company said, referring to the Western Cape province.
The mutation of the Covid-19 virus has made it bind more efficiently to cells within our bodies, say experts.
Vaccinations have not yet reached South Africa, although Ramaphosa has said that he expects 10% of the country’s 60 million people to be inoculated in the first months of 2021.
In South Korea, health authorities on Monday confirmed three cases of a particularly infectious coronavirus variant that recently emerged in Britain.
The three individuals are members of a London-based family who arrived in the country on 22 December, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.
They have been placed in isolation since testing positive for Covid-19 on arrival, the KDCA statement said.
The new strain of the virus emerged earlier this month in Britain and has already reached several European countries, as well as Canada, Jordan and Japan