The United Kingdom reported identifying two cases of another new strain of COVID-19 linked to South Africa on Wednesday, December 23. Like the UK variant identified earlier, the new South African variant of COVID-19 is also adding to the surge in cases of infection, with experts warning the country is probably facing a much larger second wave.

“Both [cases of the new variant] are contacts of cases who have travelled from South Africa over the past few weeks,” said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock while addressing a briefing from 10 Downing Street. “This new variant is highly concerning because it is yet more transmissible and it appears to have mutated further than the new variant that has been discovered in the UK,” he added.