New Delhi: The Centre has cautioned states and union territories against the new variant of COVID-19 detected in South Africa and two other countries. A new variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Botswana, South Africa and Hong Kong that is the most mutated version of the virus yet, according to experts. 

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to additional chief secretaries or principal secretaries or secretaries (Health) of all states and UTs, stating "multiple cases" of a COVID-19 variant B.1.1529 have been reported in the three countries. He asked all states and Union territories to conduct rigorous screening and testing of all international travellers coming from or transiting through South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana. 

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