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Covid variant in South Africa is ‘more of a problem’ than the one in UK, official says

  • A new variant of the coronavirus that has been identified in South Africa is more of a risk than the mutation found in the U.K., according to Britain's health minister.
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the mutation found in South African was very worrying.

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A patient with the Covid-19 breaths in oxygen in the Covid-19 ward at Khayelitsha Hospital, about 35km from the centre of Cape Town, on December 29, 2020.RODGER BOSCH | AFP | Getty Images

A variant of the coronavirus identified in South Africa is more problematic than the mutation found in the U.K., Britain's health minister said Monday, as both strains spread rapidly.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC the variant found in South Africa was especially concerning.

"I'm incredibly worried about the South African variant, and that's why we took the action that we did to restrict all flights from South Africa," he told the BBC's "Today" program.

"This is a very, very significant problem … and it's even more of a problem than the U.K. new variant."

Both countries are struggling with a surge in Covid-19 infections, which have been attributed in large part to mutations in the virus that make it more transmissible.

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