The new variant of the COVID-19 virus identified in South Africa is said to even be more of a risk than the highly infectious UK variant.
British health secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday, he was worried about the South African variant in what he called a “very significant problem. He said that’s why action was taken to restrict all flights from South Africa.
UK local television ITV political editor Robert Peston says UK scientists are worried vaccines may not work on the new variant of the coronavirus found in South Africa. He cited an unidentified scientific adviser to the British government.
Regius professor of medicine at university of oxford who sits on the government’s vaccine taskforce, john bell, said on Sunday there was a “big question mark” as to whether vaccines would work on the south African variant.
South Africa is the first country on the continent to register more than one million COVID-19 cases.
A new, faster-spreading, coronavirus variant was detected last month, that is believed to be driving the surge in infections. The country has now confirmed one million and eleven thousand COVID-19 infections, including more than 30,000 deaths since the outbreak began in March. Scientists are now working to examine if South African coronavirus variant is resistant to vaccine.
As the country hopes to obtain doses of COVID-19 vaccines as early as next month.
Baby Vaccination Drops In Rwanda Amid Lockdown
Baby vaccination rate is of concern to Rwandan authorities. The Rwanda biomedical center says it expects to vaccinate 360,000 babies every year with their first shot, but the number has dropped in Kigali during the total lockdown.
Some mothers in Kigali city say they cannot miss their babies’ vaccination schedules despite the city currently being in total lockdown.
At a vaccination exercise in Kigali on Monday, not all who were supposed to bring their babies for the vaccination showed up, thinking the medical personnel would not be available because of the lockdown.
The Rwanda biomedical center says the government spends $10 million annually to provide babies with no cost vaccinations.
Tunisian Protesters Marching To Parliament Blocked
Hundreds of Tunisians have taken to the streets in renewed protests. The demonstrations first, in the town of Sbeitla were triggered by reports that an injured young man during last week’s clashes, Haykel Rachdi, had died. The man’s family said he was hit by a tear gas canister.
He had joined nationwide protests to mark the 10th anniversary of the Tunisian revolution, which ushered in democracy and triggered the Arab spring uprisings across the region.
Soldiers were deployed to government buildings in the town after protesters tried to storm the police station.
On Tuesday, Tunisian police blocked the path of hundreds of protestors who were trying to reach the parliament building in the capital, Tunis.
It was the latest in a series of demonstrations that have been fueled by frustration at the lack of jobs and spiraling prices.
More than one thousand young protesters had been arrested during the previous protests, and many of the protesters on Tuesday were calling for their release.
Morocco Begins Rolling Out COVID-19 Vaccinations
After Egypt, Morocco is set to become the latest country in Africa to roll out a vaccination programme against COVID-19 giving priority to frontline medical staff.
The country has received two million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, and is expected to take delivery of half a million doses from China’s Sinopharm on Wednesday.
Morocco was hit hard last year when it recorded a higher number of cases compared to its neighbours
Tunisia has pushed back its vaccination campaign to April, while Algeria expects to acquire a batch of Russia’s Sputnik V vacc Oxford/AstraZeneca ine by the end of this month.