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Kenya variant of COVID-19 emerges

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A new variant of the coronavirus has been detected in Kenya, preliminary research by the state-linked Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) has revealed.

The variant, unique to Kenya, had been detected in the south-east of the country following a study done between June and October, Kemri said.

More research needed to be done to assess the impact of the variant, it added. It is perfectly normal for viruses to mutate, scientists say.

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Kenya has so far recorded nearly 100,000 cases of Covid-19 and more than 1,700 deaths.

Meanwhile, the faster-spreading South African variant has been detected in three African states – neighbouring Botswana, Zambia and The Gambia in West Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO has said.

Africa has now topped three million Covid-19 cases, and daily case numbers were exceeding the first wave peak, it said.

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An average of 25,223 cases were reported each day between 28 December 2020 and 10 January 2021 in Africa, which is nearly 39% higher than the July 2020 two-week peak of 18,104 daily average cases, the WHO said.

“Revamped public health measures are ever more critical to avert a runaway surge in infections that could stretch health facilities to the breaking point,” it added.

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