British Health Minister Sajid Javid speaks at a press conference in Downing Street, London, UK on October 20, 2021.
Toby Melville | WPA Pool | Getty Images News
The UK temporarily suspended flights from six countries because a new Covid variant spread more than 30 mutations in South Africa.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid made the announcement a few hours after the statement of the World Health Organization. Newsletter about the new variantsThe organization called for a special meeting to be held on Friday to further study the variant, which has been found in small quantities in South Africa.
“More data is needed, but we are now taking preventive measures. Starting at noon tomorrow, six African countries will be added to the red list, flights will be temporarily banned, and British travelers must be quarantined,” Javid wrote on Twitter .
According to a statement issued by the British Health, Transport and Health Security Agency, in addition to South Africa, countries such as Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana have also been included in the new restrictions.
Officials said on Thursday that the WHO will hold a special meeting on Friday to discuss the significance of the new variants for vaccines and treatments.
According to the World Health Organization, this variant named B.1.1.529 has been found in small quantities in South Africa. The variant has spread rapidly in Gauteng, which includes Johannesburg, the country’s largest city.
South Africa’s Minister of Health, Joe Fahra, said at the briefing that Botswana and Hong Kong had also found this variation.
“We don’t know much about it yet. What we do know is that this variant has a lot of mutations. The worrying thing is that when you have so many mutations, it affects the way the virus behaves,” WHO Covid- 19 The head of technology, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, said in a Q&A live on the organization’s social media channels.
As infection levels in countries around the world remain high, newly detected variants have emerged. In Europe, Austria and Italy announced new restrictions in recent days to slow the spread of the virus.
South African scientists have detected more than 30 mutations in the new variant, raising concerns that it may better evade vaccines and antibody protection from previous infections.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, countries have used flight or total travel restrictions as a tool to slow the spread of Covid.U.S. just Earlier this month, 33 countries, including the United Kingdom, lifted travel bans.