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What is this new coronavirus variant in South Africa?

South African scientists have identified a new version of the coronavirus this week that they say is behind a recent spike in COVID-19 infections in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province. It’s unclear where the new variant actually arose, but it was first detected by scientists in South Africa and has also been seen in travellers to Hong Kong and Botswana.

People wait to get vaccinated at a shopping mall, in Johannesburg, Nov. 26, 2021. Advisers to the World Health Organization are holding a special session Friday to flesh out information about a worrying new variant of the coronavirus that has emerged in South Africa. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

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More omicron cases pop up as world rushes to learn more

Cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus popped up in countries on opposite sides of the world Sunday and many governments rushed to close their borders even as scientists cautioned that it's not clear if the new variant is more alarming than other versions of the virus.

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