South Africa Raises Alarm Over New Coronavirus Variant

JOHANNESBURG—South Africa’s government is considering new public-health restrictions to contain a fast-spreading new variant of the coronavirus that scientists say has a high number of mutations that may make it more transmissible and allow it to evade some of the immune responses triggered by previous infection or vaccination.

The warning from the South African scientists and the Health Ministry, issued in a hastily called news briefing Thursday, prompted the World Health Organization to call a meeting of experts for Friday to discuss whether to declare the new strain a “variant of concern.”

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