Home » UK suspends flights to six African countries as new Covid variant raises alarms

UK suspends flights to six African countries as new Covid variant raises alarms

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Britain’s Well being Secretary Sajid Javid speaks throughout a press convention at Downing Avenue on October 20, 2021 in London, England.

Toby Melville | WPA Pool | Getty Pictures Information

The UK is briefly suspending flights from six nations as a brand new Covid variant with greater than 30 mutations spreads in South Africa.

Sajid Javid, the U.Ok.’s secretary of state for well being and social care, made the announcement hours after the World Well being Group gave a briefing on the brand new variant. The group known as for a particular assembly on Friday to additional examine the variant, which has been detected in small numbers in South Africa.

“Extra information is required however we’re taking precautions now. From midday tomorrow six African nations will likely be added to the purple listing, flights will likely be briefly banned, and UK travellers should quarantine,” Javid wrote on Twitter.

Along with South Africa, the nations of Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana are included within the new restrictions, in line with a press release issued by the U.Ok.’s well being, transport and well being safety businesses.

The WHO is holding a particular assembly Friday to debate what the brand new variant could imply for vaccines and coverings, officers mentioned Thursday.

The variant, known as B.1.1.529, has been detected in South Africa in small numbers, in line with the WHO. The variant has unfold quickly via the Gauteng province, which accommodates the nation’s largest metropolis of Johannesburg.

The variant has additionally been detected in Botswana and Hong Kong, South Africa Minister of Well being Joe Phaahla mentioned in the course of the briefing.

“We do not know very a lot about this but. What we do know is that this variant has a lot of mutations. And the priority is that when you could have so many mutations, it may have an effect on how the virus behaves,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19, mentioned in a Q&A that was livestreamed on the group’s social media channels.

The newly detected variant arrives as an infection ranges stay excessive in nations internationally. In Europe, Austria and Italy introduced new restrictions in current days geared toward slowing the unfold of the virus.

South African scientists have detected greater than 30 mutations within the new variant, elevating concern that it may probably higher evade the antibody safety created by vaccines and prior infections.

Nations have used restrictions on flights or whole journey as a instrument to gradual the unfold of Covid because the early days of the pandemic. The U.S. simply lifted its journey ban from 33 nations, together with the U.Ok., earlier this month.

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