- Reports of fresh confirmed cases of the U.K, South Africa strain of COVID-19 traced in New Zealand.
- 11 cases have been identified to be of the U.K. variant with the genome sequence B.1.1.7, rest 6 have been discovered to be of the South Africa variant with genome sequence B.188.8.131.52 of the disease.
- The ministry stated that the aim of the testing is to understand the strains better and eliminate the virus from the country.
It has been reported that cases of the new strain of the COVID-19 virus are increasing. As on 21 January 2021, 17 infected people have been confirmed to be suffering from highly contagious strain of the virus and have been kept in isolation since 6 January 2021.
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These results were announced after genome sequencing for the people tested positive for the virus since January 6 were released. While 11 of the samples have been identified to be of the U.K. variant with the genome sequence B.1.1.7, 6 have been discovered to be of the South Africa variant with genome sequence B.184.108.40.206 of the disease.
A total of 36 people entering in NZ is known to have contracted the new strains of the virus since the time it was traced.
It is noteworthy that all these cases have been discovered in managed isolation. There were previous warnings that it could happen. The ministry further said that more such positive cases can be expected in isolation facilities across the country as it is currently spreading far and wide in the world.
The ESR conducts complete genome testing on all COVID-19 positive samples to determine what strain they belong to. The new strain cases are witnessing a steady rise. As on January 11, there were only 19 U.K. strain cases and one South Africa strain recorded.
Word from the officials
The ministry further stated that the aim of the testing is to understand the strains better and be able to use this information in the process of elimination of the virus from the country with the help of different measures and precautions.
The tests could help in better optimisation of strategies in terms of border control, and other safety measures, and testing/reviewing of the cases in general.
Currently, in an effort to make border restrictions stricter, New Zealand has made pre-departure COVID-19 tests compulsory for people entering the country with the exception of Antarctica, Australia, as well as most of the Pacific Islands.
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The ministry had revealed last week that the B.1.1.7 variant is 1.5 times more potent for spreading infection and is more contagious. However, the duration of the infection, as well as the severity of the infection are not yet known to be different from other variants of coronavirus.