The new COVID-19 strain, omicron, explained

Called "omicron," the new strain was discovered in South Africa. From just over 200 new confirmed cases per day in recent weeks, South Africa saw the number of new daily cases rocket to 2,465 on Thursday.

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World News

November 28, 2021 - 8:20 AM

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, urges Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if they have not already done so to guard against the new variant, omicron, that is quickly spreading. (Patrick Semansky/Pool/Getty Images/TNS)

LONDON (AP) — WHAT IS THIS NEW COVID-19 VARIANT?

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 first emerged, but scientists in South Africa first alerted the World Health Organization and it has now been seen in travelers to Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the variant was linked to an “exponential rise” of cases in the last few days, although experts are still trying to determine if the new variant is actually responsible.

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