EXPLAINER: What is This New COVID Variant in South Africa?

It's unclear where the new variant actually arose.

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People with masks walk at a shopping mall in Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday Nov. 26, 2021. Advisers to the World Health Organization are holding a special session Friday to flesh out information about a worrying new variant of the coronavirus that has emerged in South Africa, though its impact on COVID-19 vaccines may not be known for weeks. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)
Image via AP Photo/Denis Farrell

This article was republished here with permission from The Associated Press, however it is no longer available to read on Snopes.com.

LONDON (AP) — South African scientists identified a new version of the coronavirus this week that they say is behind a recent spike in COVID-19 infections in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province. It’s unclear where the new variant actually arose, but it was first detected by scientists in South Africa and has now been seen in travelers to Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel. Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the variant was linked to an…

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