Coronavirus live news: New Zealand cases drop for second day, Japan blames vaccine contamination on needles

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A new Covid variant has made headlines around the world after the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa issued an alert about the “C.1.2 lineage”, saying it had been detected in all provinces in the country, but at a relatively low rate.

C.1.2 was first detected in May, the alert said, but Delta is still the dominant variant spreading in South Africa and the world.

A pre-print, non peer-reviewed paper published about the variant said C.1.2 “… has since been detected across the majority of the provinces in South Africa and in seven other countries spanning Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania”.

The C.1.2 lineage has drawn the attention of scientists because despite its low rate in the population, it possesses mutations within the genome similar to those seen in variants of interest and variants of concern, like the Delta variant, as well as some additional mutations.

So what do we know about the new variant, and how concerned should we be?

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