South African Covid-19 strain has firm foothold in Namibia

As many as 20 percent of Namibians who contracted Covid-19 could have been infected by the new South African strain, also known by the scientific name of 501Y.V2.

The new strain was first detected in Namibia in October 2020 and February 2021. The same time the new strain was detected in the South African population, according to Namibia’s health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula.
Although the new strain was only detected in ten of the country’s fourteen regions, chances are not ruled out that 501Y.V2 is present in people in the remaining four regions.
In a statement on Wednesday, Dr Shangula announced Namibia’s health authority collaborated with its South African counterpart to determine to what extent is the new Covid-19 strain present in the two countries’ people.
Samples were drawn from specimens of people that tested positive for Covid-19. A total of 105 samples were drawn from stored samples at the National Institute for Pathology (81 samples); Pathcare (12 samples) and the University of Namibia (12 samples). These samples were taken during August 2020 and last month and were all from patients who tested positive for the Coronavirus (Covid-19).
Of these 105 samples sent to South Africa, 81 could be successfully sequenced and analysed in a process known as “genomic sequencing”.
Out of these 81 samples, 16 were from the new South African strain.
“Based on these results, we now know that the variant identified in South Africa is present in Namibia”, Dr Shangula says in the statement. Adding this new variant was also detected in the human populations of Botswana and Zambia.
Dr Shangula assured Namibians that the Namibian Government will continue every effort to contain the Covid-19 pandemic in the country which include an extensive Covid-19 vaccination program in the foreseeable future.

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