English variant of Covid in Senegal: what you need to know

A local research institute confirms the presence of the British variant in Senegal. What do you need to know about the English variant of Covid in Senegal?

This West African country is experiencing an upsurge in Covid 19 infections. This outbreak translates into a daily increase of around two hundred new cases and a dozen deaths.

The presence of the more contagious Covid 19 variant, identified for the first time in the United Kingdom, was confirmed in early January following analyzes of samples, but the information was not communicated immediately.

“Since the variant appeared, all the laboratories have been carrying out sequencing from time to time,” explains Mamadou Ndiaye, Director of Prevention at the Senegalese Ministry of Health.

“The sequencing is done on the basis of a certain number of criteria through an examination of a certain number of samples, we were able to find a sample which presented this variant,” he adds. A procedure which “is not systematic on all the patients sampled”, specifies Mr. Ndiaye.

The Institute for Health Research, Epidemiological Surveillance and Training (IRESSEF), one of the Senegalese laboratories on the front line of Covid 19, worked in collaboration with the Gambian unit of the United Kingdom’s Medical Research Council.

Senegal is experiencing a sharp increase in coronavirus infections with an increase in deaths linked to Covid 19, bringing the total to 614, or around 200 more in a month.

However, for Mamadou Ndiaye, the presence of the British variant is not linked to this situation.

“This variant is labeled as a little more contagious compared to the old one, but the second wave evolves according to its propagation. Anyone who was infected during the second wave was not infected with the second variant,” he declares.

He reiterates the importance of respecting barrier measures in order to protect oneself. Authorities have declared a state of health emergency in Dakar and Thiès due to the coronavirus’s continued spread in these regions.

A nighttime curfew and a ban on gatherings are in place in the two regions. Wearing a face mask in public remains compulsory throughout the country.

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