Gambia records first two cases of British COVID-19 variant

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BANJUL (Reuters) – Gambia has recorded its first two cases of the highly infectious coronavirus variant first found in Britain, its health minister said on Thursday, in what appears to be the first confirmation of the variant’s presence in Africa.

Speaking before parliament, Health Minister Ahmadou Lamin Samateh did not give any further details about the cases, which could hamper efforts to contain a recent surge in infections.

In a weekly report on Tuesday, the World Health Organization listed 50 countries where the variant had been detected around the world – none of them in Africa.

Gambia, a former British colony, has so far recorded around 3,890 cases and 126 deaths and its infection rate is near record levels, data compiled by Reuters shows.

Across Africa, a second coronavirus wave is infecting twice as many people per day as the height of the first wave last year and has not peaked, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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