Citizen Reporter
Reporter
3 minute read
10 Jan 2022
7:39 pm

SA has 144,355 active cases of Covid-19

Citizen Reporter

Experts said Monday that an alleged hybrid coronavirus mutation dubbed 'Deltacron' reportedly discovered in a Cyprus lab is most likely the result of a lab contamination, and not a new worrying variant.

Photo: AFP/Patrick T. Fallon

As of Monday, the number of active Covid-19 cases in South Africa is 144,355. Of these, 2,409 were identified in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3.528,463

This increase represents a 14% positivity rate. 

The majority of new cases today are from Gauteng (34%), followed by Western Cape (23%).  Kwa-Zulu Natal accounted for 21%; Free State accounted for 5%; Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga each accounted for 4% respectively; North West & Northern Cape  each accounted for 3% respectively; and Limpopo accounted for 2% of today’s new cases respectively.

As per the National Department of Health, a further 77 Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 92,530 to date, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, has announced.

21.570,563 tests have been conducted in both public and private sectors.

There has been an increase of 177 hospital admissions in the past 24 hours.

‘Deltacron’ likely result of lab error – experts

Experts said Monday that an alleged hybrid coronavirus mutation dubbed “Deltacron” reportedly discovered in a Cyprus lab is most likely the result of a lab contamination, and not a new worrying variant.

Cypriot media reported the discovery Saturday, describing it as having “the genetic background of the Delta variant along with some of the mutations of Omicron”.

While it is possible for coronaviruses to genetically combine, it is rare, and scientists analysing the discovery of so-called “Deltacron” say it is unlikely.

“The Cypriot ‘Deltacron’ sequences reported by several large media outlets look to be quite clearly contamination,” Tom Peacock, a virologist with the infectious diseases department at Imperial College London, tweeted over the weekend. 

Jeffrey Barrett, the head of the Covid-19 Genomics Initiative at Britain’s Wellcome Sanger Institute, said the alleged mutations are located on a part of the genome that is vulnerable to error in certain sequencing procedures.

“This is almost certainly not a biological recombinant of the Delta and Omicron lineages,” he said Monday. 

Scientists are eager to battle a deluge of disinformation about Covid-19, much of it circulating online. 

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Last week, unverified reports emerged of a “flurona” or “flurone” virus circulating — a combination of the flu and the coronavirus — which the World Health Organization (WHO) dismissed Monday. 

“Let’s not use words like Deltacron, flurona or flurone. Please,” tweeted Maria van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the WHO.

“These words imply combination of viruses/variants and this is not happening,” she said. 

While people can suffer from influenza and coronavirus at the same time, the two viruses cannot combine. 

In contrast to new variants of Covid-19 such as Omicron, which greatly impact the course of the pandemic, cases of simultaneous infection of the flu and coronavirus are nothing new.

Since the start of the pandemic, the coronavirus has given rise to dozens of variants, four of which have been designated “of concern” by the WHO: Alpha, Beta, Delta and Omicron. 

Additional reporting by AFP