Skip to content
Subscriber Only

South Africa Rejects U.K. Claims Over New Coronavirus Variant

  • New strains in two countries are different: health minister
  • Mkhize responds to allegations by U.K. health secretary
Coronavirus covid-19

Photographer: BSIP/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

South Africa’s government rejected allegations that a new variant of the coronavirus found in the country has contributed to a second wave of infections in the U.K. and criticized its decision to impose travel restrictions.

A new virus variant that was detected in the U.K. has a mutation occurring at a site common with the South African strain, known as 501.V2, but they are “two completely independent lineages,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in a statement late Thursday. There’s no evidence that 501.V2 causes more severe disease or increased mortality than any other variant that’s been sequenced around the world, he said.