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Rabat – Three more contagious COVID-19 have emerged, just as vaccination campaigns looked to provide an end to the crisis. Last week the UK announced it had detected a mutated version of the COVID-19 virus. The announcement prompted many countries to close their borders to the British. Yet two more new strains have emerged in Nigeria and South Africa.
The globe is still very much in the midst of the COVID-19 health crisis,with 78 million people around the world having been infected with the virus since the beginning of the crisis. Almost 1.8 million people have died and cases continue to rise steadily.
The emergence of several vaccines has led many to see the light at the end of the crisis. Countries are commencing large-scale vaccination campaigns that intend to gradually stop the virus from spreading. International markets have responded to increasing optimism yet the emergence of three new strains have complicated matters.
The UK strain that was first detected last week is not any more lethal than the original strain, but it is much more contagious. In the UK, the discovery of the strain might actually have saved lives this holiday season as the government abruptly cancelled a five day lifting of measures around Christmas. And yet, while more people stayed home, the virus is likely to spread faster because of the mutations.
This week another strain emerged in South Africa.
The new mutation is significantly different from the original COVID-19 and is the primary source of a resurgence in cases in the country. The South African government has introduced new restrictions, including a curfew and closing public beaches. Still, the mood in South Africa remains “festive” around the Christmas holiday, according to Al Jazeera.
On December 24, the African Center for Disease Control reported another mutation of the COVID-19 virus. This time the new strain emerged in Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria. “It’s a separate lineage from the UK and South Africa,” Africa’s CDC chief John Nkengasong told the press on Thursday.
First results are showing that the Nigerian variant is not as contagious as the South African and British variants, despite a 52% rise in cases in Nigeria over the past week. The British variant has since appeared in France and Lebanon as well.
Doctors across the world have reassured worried citizens that vaccination campaigns will proceed as planned. There is no evidence that the new strains are in any way resistant to the vaccines that are currently in production.