The more contagious new COVID-19 strain from South Africa has now been detected in Ghana.
According to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), Ghana joins a list of 21 other countries globally to have recorded cases of the 501Y.V2 variant including South Africa, Botswana and Zambia.
The second wave of coronavirus
This comes at a point when Ghana is battling a second wave of COVID-19, with the country recording 1,544 new coronavirus cases in 2 days, case updates from the Ghana Health Service (GHS) on January 26 and 27 have shown.
The West African nation currently has 4,665 active cases, 65,427 total confirmed cases, 60,357 recoveries/discharge and 405 deaths.
The public health agency of the African Union- Africa CDC, says at least 40 countries have experienced a second wave of the pandemic, including all countries in the Southern Africa region.
Three new COVID-19 variants
Preliminary findings show that three new similar but distinct Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants, the 501Y/VUI – 202012/01, 501Y.V2, 501Y.V3, reported in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil, respectively, are contributing to the new wave of infections.
The new variants are significantly more transmissible than previously circulating variants, with high viral shedding observed among cases.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised national and local authorities to continue to strengthen existing disease control activities, including monitoring their epidemics closely through ongoing epidemiological surveillance and strategic testing; conducting outbreak investigation and contact tracing; and where appropriate, adjusting public health and social measures to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2.