Flights to 6 African countries suspended by the U.K.
Six southern African countries were added to the U.K.’s travel red list on Friday after the new coronavirus variant B.1.1.529 red-flagged by health experts as highly transmissible and effective at evading the body’s immune response was first detected in South Africa earlier this week.
In addition to South Africa, the countries of Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana are included in the new restrictions, according to a statement issued by the U.K.’s health, transport and health security agencies.
“This variant has a very high number of mutations, which is concerning for its predicted immune evasion and transmissibility,” Prof. De Oliveira (Director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform) said, before adding, “Early signs from diagnostic laboratories suggest that the variant has spread rapidly in Gauteng province and might also be present in most of the other eight provinces of South Africa.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) is convening an emergency meeting Friday to discuss the potentially rapidly spreading Covid strain found in South Africa and Botswana, the Financial Times reported, citing sources.