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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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LIVE | What we know and don't know about Omicron variant

The World Health Organization says it could still take some time to get a full picture of the threat posed by Omicron, a new variant of the coronavirus as scientists worldwide scramble to assess its multiple mutations. Here's a look at we we know about the variant and why scientists are worried.

Passengers queue to check in, at Heathrow Airport in London, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Portugal probes local transmission of Omicron variant at soccer team

Portuguese health authorities on Monday identified 13 cases of omicron, the new coronavirus variant spreading fast globally, among members of a top soccer club and were investigating whether it was one of the first reported cases of local transmission of the virus outside of southern Africa.

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