First case of South African COVID-19 variant detected in Canada

A test sample collected in Ramle

Twenty additional deaths from the virus have been confirmed.

Calgary Zone saw an increase of 373 cases, bringing its total confirmed cases up to 42,278.

There were 674 people with Covid-19 in hospitals across Northern Ireland on Saturday, including 47 in intensive care units (ICU).

Israel's health ministry said Saturday four people had tested positive for the novel coronavirus strain first detected in South Africa, with the new British variant already recorded.

They included a traveler who recently returned from South Africa and family members of another individual who had traveled from there.

It is believed they picked it up while travelling.

Research is ongoing to determine if the vaccines developed would be effective against the new variant and so far there is no evidence to suggest otherwise.

McCoy for The New York Times A pharmacist measured doses of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington last month.

First case of South African COVID-19 variant detected in Canada

Brazil is suffering the world's second-deadliest coronavirus outbreak after the United States, with more than 200,000 dead and 8 million confirmed cases.

Ireland this week reported an increasing presence of the variant first found in England.

The South African variant, similar to a variant found in England, does not seem to cause harsher symptoms but seems to spread more easily than the original strain.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, told The Associated Press this week that the coronavirus variants don't appear to block vaccine-induced antibodies but that testing needed to be sure is underway in the USA and elsewhere.

It is also too soon to say whether this new variant of the disease could pose a risk to the effectiveness of the vaccines now being distributed.

Of the cases announced this evening, 3,013 were in Dublin with 1,374 in Cork, 538 in Limerick, 314 in Kildare, 310 in Donegal and the rest spread across all other counties.

A technician collects nasal swab samples for coronavirus, at a lab in Ben-Gurion International Airport on December 14, 2020.

The North's seven-day incidence rate is now at 600 cases per 100,000.