BBC News

New variant South African Covid spreading 'far faster'

The new variant of coronavirus discovered in South Africa is spreading far faster than the previous variants in the first wave, epidemiologist Prof Salim Abdool Karim has said.

He told BBC World News: "Since we first found that we had this 501v2 variant that was circulating, we have now come to better understand its transmission dynamics and the effects that it is having and one of most substantial effects is the rapidity with which it is spreading."

Prof Karim, who is chair of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Covid-19 in South Africa, said there was no need for a change in strategy to tackle the new variant but the diagnostics, treatment and prevention mechanisms already in place needed to be more strongly enforced.