The South African government is considering new public health restrictions, including a new variant of the coronavirus B.1.1.529 that is rapidly spreading. This increases infectivity and is a previous infection or vaccination.
A warning from South African scientists and the Ministry of Health issued at a press conference rushed on Thursday whether the World Health Organisation will call an expert meeting on Friday to declare the new stock a “variant of concern”. Was urged to discuss.
For now, the United Kingdom is temporarily suspending flights from six countries as a new Covid variant with more than 30 mutations spreads in South Africa.
Sajid Javid, the U.K.’s secretary of state for health and social care, made the announcement hours after the World Health Organisation gave a briefing on the new variant.
“More data is needed but we’re taking precautions now. From noon tomorrow six African countries will be added to the red list, flights will be temporarily banned, and UK travellers must quarantine,” Javid wrote on Twitter.
In addition to South Africa, the countries of Botswana , Eswatini, Lesotho,Namibia , and Zimbabwe are included in the new restrictions, according to a statement issued by the U.K.’s health, transport and health security agencies.
The WHO is holding a special meeting Friday to discuss what the new variant may entail for vaccines and treatments, officials said Thursday.
The B.1.1.529 variant was detected in South Africa in small numbers, according to the WHO. The variant has spread rapidly through the Gauteng province, which contains the country’s largest city of Johannesburg.
The variant has also been detected in Botswana and Hong Kong, South Africa Minister of Health Joe Phaahla said during the briefing.
The newly detected variant arrives as infection levels remain high in countries across the world. In Europe, Austria and Italy announced new restrictions in recent days aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.