At least eight people in the Western Cape have tested positive for the COVID-19 variant first detected in the United Kingdom, the Department of Health has confirmed.

According to Times Live, the Health Department said on Saturday evening that two variants of concern had been detected in South Africa.

Of the B.1.1.7 variant which was first detected in the UK, there were 11 cases, while the B.1.617.2 variant, which was first detected in India, four cases had been detected, the report said.

“Of the 11 people who tested positive for the variant first detected in the UK, eight were detected in Western Cape. Of those from the Western Cape, two have a history of traveling from Bahrain,” eNCA reported.

‘Detection of new variants is inevitable’

From the 11, one person was from KwaZulu-Natal and two were detected in Gauteng.

“The B.1.1.7 has been detected in community samples and this, therefore, suggests that community transmission of B.1.1.7 has already set in.

“As the epidemic progresses, the detection of new variants is inevitable. The work of genomic surveillance assists us to detect the variants and understand their behaviour and to refine vaccines so they remain effective,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in a statement.

Meanwhile, reports indicated that at least four people in South Africa had tested positive for the COVID-19 variant found in India.

National COVID-19 case management guidelines

IOL reported that the four cases of B.1.617.2 were detected in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, with each province reporting 2 cases, and all had a history of recent arrivals from India.

All cases had been isolated and managed according to the national COVID-19 case management guidelines.

On Saturday, a total of 37 Covid-19 deaths were reported in the country, bringing the total to 54 724.

A total of 1 594 817 Covid-19 cases have been documented in SA, with Gauteng being the front-runner with 427, 782 cases and KwaZulu-Natal coming in second with 337,254 cases. The Western Cape follows with 288,052 cases.
1 514 088 people have recovered, which is a 95% recovery rate.

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