There has so far been no detection of the Indian variant of Covid-19 (B.1.617) in the province and no further instances of the UK variant (B.1.1.7). Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
There has so far been no detection of the Indian variant of Covid-19 (B.1.617) in the province and no further instances of the UK variant (B.1.1.7). Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

No detection of the Indian Covid-19 variant in the province yet, says Dr Cloete

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published May 27, 2021

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Cape Town - There has so far been no detection of the Indian variant of Covid-19 (B.1.617) in the province and no further instances of the UK variant (B.1.1.7), beyond the eight cases reported in early May, according to provincial head of health Dr Keith Cloete.

Briefing the legislature’s ad hoc committee on Covid-19 Dr Cloete warned however that the situation could change as the department’s virologists had experienced some challenges with sequencing machines and this meant there were some specimens still waiting to be sequenced.

“The summary from our scientists is that the predominant variant in South Africa will be our 501 V2, also known as B.1.5.3.1, and these other ones will not make a sizeable difference in impacting on our situation.

“That said, we will obviously have to constantly monitor the situation to see that the situation remains that way.”

With regard to travel bans, Cloete said that informal communication with the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) had established that given the spread of B.1.617 to more than a dozen countries already a travel ban would not be feasible and instead greater vigilance was required at airports.

Asked by committee member Peter Marais (FF+) for advice on whether parliamentary oversight visits across the province should continue in the face of the approaching third wave, Dr Cloete said he would advise anybody against unnecessary travel over the next four to five weeks.

The committee was told that the national allocation of vaccines to provinces is determined by the number of qualifying individuals who register to receive their jabs.

Committee chairperson Mireille Wenger (DA) said: “This is all the more reason why we need to register as many residents as possible and avoid a situation where the Western Cape is left behind in receiving vaccines.”

Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said vaccine registration on the EVDS is now zero-rated on the provincial government’s public wi-fi hot spots.

“This will bring us closer to reaching our registration targets in the province and administering the lifesaving Covid-19 vaccine.”

HEALTH MEC Nomafrench Mbombo visited Salvation Church in Makhaza to show people over 60 how to register on EVDS. | Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

Public wi-fi hot spots are available across the province. To find your nearest public wi-fi hotspot, you can visit: www.westerncape.gov.za/wifi. Insert the name of your suburb and select the search function to see where your nearest wi-fi hot spot is.

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