NICD to intensify screening amid new Covid variant discovered in India

NICD to intensify screening amid new Covid variant discovered in India

The National Institute of Communicable Disease (NICD) says it will intensify screening at South African ports of entry amid the B.1.617 Covid-19 variant first discovered in India. 

A medical staff holds a nasal swab as he collects samples from a person at a COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) drive-in test in Brest, western France,

On Monday, the Netcare Hospital Group confirmed that a patient, who travelled from India to South Africa, tested positive for Covid-19 and was receiving treatment at a hospital in KwaZulu-Natal. 


The new Covid-19 variant discovered in India has been attributed to the soaring numbers of the deadly virus in the country, on some days recording a whopping 300 000 new daily infections. 


This has resulted in India being put on the red list by countries such as Nigeria, the United States and the United Kingdom and Italy. 

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But NCID executive director Adrian Puren says South Africa will not be taking that particular route just as yet. 


“South Africa would consider those kinds of steps, but I think it would be a nuanced position. It is very difficult to control the movement of this particular virus. So one could think of those types of steps but it may be that we may not go that particular route but instead have a good screening programme in South Africa at ports of entry. 


“We must make sure that one can screen appropriately and identify any individuals that are infected and place those individuals in quarantine.”


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