Western Cape has eight cases of UK Covid-19 variant and none of the Indian variant
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Cape Town - The eight cases of the new Covid-19 variant that have been recorded in the Western Cape are of the variant first detected in the UK, and none of the new Indian variant.
Over the weekend, Health Minister Dr Zweli said 11 cases of the B.1.1.7 (UK) variant and four of the B.1.617.2 (India) variant had been detected in the country.
Mkhize said the country's scientists had sequenced a coronavirus test from travellers and 11 cases had come back positive for the B.1.1.7 strain first detected in the UK.
The Western Cape Head of Health, Dr Keith Cloete said local scientists were monitoring the situation and residents’ best bet to stay safe were to adhere Covid-19 safety and physical distancing regulations.
“These eight are isolated cases detected in March and April 2021, and has not shown any pattern of increased transmission. There has not been any cases of B.1.617 (recently reported in India) detected in this province to date.
“Our scientists monitor the presence of these variants, and there is no evidence that these variants will increase fast in our contexts, and the B.1.351, which was first detected in SA in December 2021, remains and is expected to remain the predominant strain in SA for the coming month,” Cloete said.
“We are managing the predominant strain as we had managed Covid-19 to date, through appropriate behaviours to limit spread.”
He said there was no need for people to be alarmed and everyone needed to adhere to existing behavioural precautions.
He added the new variant in the province “is not expected to influence the third wave preparations”.
During last week’s digicon, Dr Cloete said the province was in the containment phase ahead of the expected third wave, which was anticipated to be lower than the second wave.
“However, this is dependent on the strength of our behaviour over the coming weeks. Preparations for the third wave are in full swing, with clearly identified trigger points for an appropriate health platform resource response.
“We continue to be vigilant, and track cases and hospitalisations carefully in each area, for any sign of sustained increases.”
Premier Alan Winde said, depending on vaccine supply by National Department, the beginning of Phase 2 is scheduled to start in the province on May 17, 2021.
He added the administration of the vaccine to those who are over 60 years of age would overlap with the mop-up of healthcare workers who have not been vaccinated as part of the Sisonke Programme.
“In addition, we will transition from one age band to the next once a significant proportion of the target population in the current age band, approximately 70%, has been vaccinated.
“To ensure a prompt start to the vaccine programme in the Western Cape, Pfizer vaccines will be used for the remaining healthcare workers (Phase 1b) and for the start of Phase 2 (60 years or older).
“This programme will gain momentum by the end of May, as the Johnson & Johnson vaccines become available.
“As a province, vaccine distribution will take place each month to ensure coverage of 5 076 130 people.
“By May, we anticipate the receipt of 260 000 of the single dose J&J vaccine and 135 600 of the two dose Pfizer to provide a total of 395 600 vaccines,” Winde said.