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The Delhi government has called a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Monday to discuss steps that need to be taken in view of threat of a new Covid-19 variant from African countries, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said.

A new coronavirus variant has been detected in South Africa that scientists say is a cause of concern because of its high number of mutations and rapid transmission among young people. The variant, identified as B.1.1.529 has also been found in Botswana and Hong Kong travellers from South Africa.

The Centre on Thursday had asked all states and union territories to conduct rigorous screening and testing of all international travellers coming from or transiting through South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana.

"In view of the threat from a new Covid-19 variant from African countries, we have requested experts to make a presentation to the DDMA on Monday and suggest what steps we should take. We will take all steps necessary to protect you and your family," Kejriwal tweeted on Friday.

The new variant of Covid-19, feared to have a high amount of spike mutations unseen before, has been detected in South Africa, with authorities there confirming 22 positive cases associated with it on Thursday.

Dr Tom Peacock, a virologist at the Imperial College London, had posted details of the new variant classed as B.1.1.529 on his Twitter account earlier this week, following which scientists have been weighing in on what is being considered a variant of concern, though it is yet to be formally categorised in the UK.

South Africa's health minister said, "Over the last four or five days, there has been more of an exponential rise," adding that the new variant appears to be driving the spike in cases. He said the scientists are working to determine what percentage of the new cases have been caused by the new variant.

Scientists the world over will be watching the new variant for signs of gaining momentum or spreading more widely and rapidly. The high number of spike mutations are concerning from the point of view of both higher transmissibility and immune evasion.

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