Should SA ban travel from India in light of new Covid-19 variant?

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Sara-Jayne King

169 days ago
Should SA ban travel from India in light of new Covid-19 variant? Image: © Alexander Berdyugin/ 123rf.com

It has been confirmed by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases that four cases of the Indian variant of the Covid-19 virus have been discovered in South Africa.

Two of the cases were found in Gauteng, and two in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

The B.1.617.2 variant was first identified in India, where the total Covid-19 tally hit over 22 million this weekend with 246 116 deaths recorded.

Since the variant was discovered several countries have banned all travel from India, including Australia - which made travel from the country a criminal offence, punishable with up to five years in prison.

But the University Of Kwa-Zulu Natal's Prof Mosa Moshabela says since the Indian strain has already been discovered in at least 30 countries around the world, there is little benefit in South Africa closing its borders.

If you block flights coming directly from India to South Africa, then what is the added advantage of doing that if the same strain can come through from other countries?

Prof Mosa Moshabela, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation - University Of Kwa-Zulu Natal

Meanwhile, Prof Moshabela says South Africa is 'on the cusp' of a third wave of the virus - and in a Twitter post last week said the country should prepare to move to Alert Level 3 with restrictions similar to December and January.

The moment we see big provinces like Gauteng and KZN start to be affected, you kind of know that the numbers will become cumulatively higher and it will drive the wave upwards.

Prof Mosa Moshabela, Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation - University Of Kwa-Zulu Natal

RELATED: Third wave 'inevitable' says expert, as country moves to Level 1

RELATED: 'We’re not vaccinating – a 3rd wave of Covid-19 infections is thus inevitable'

South Africa's third wave and the Indian variant - listen to the full conversation with Prof Moshabela below:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Should SA ban travel from India in light of new Covid-19 variant?

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