The National Institute for Communicable Diseases has rubbished claims that a new Covid-19 variant, first detected in India, has been found in South Africa.
NICD acting executive director Professor Adrian Puren said, to date, the B.1.617 variant has not been detected in South Africa and any suspected cases will be investigated.
India's total Covid-19 caseload neared 20 million on Monday.
India's underfunded healthcare system is under severe strain, with fatal shortages of beds, drugs and oxygen leaving some to die in the long queues outside city hospitals.
Twenty-four people died in one hospital on Sunday night in Karnataka state after the hospital ran out of oxygen, press reports and sources said, though the district administration denied that shortages had caused the deaths.