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England adds six African countries to travel red list over new COVID strain – POLITICO

England has launched strict new travel situations for six African countries, together with South Africa, due to rising concern over a newly found coronavirus variant, the British well being secretary said Thursday.

From midday Friday, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini will likely be added to England’s travel red list, Sajid Javid introduced, that means British and Irish nationals arriving from these countries should quarantine, and residents from different countries will likely be denied entry. Direct flights will likely be briefly banned till quarantine services are arrange.

“Extra knowledge is required however we’re taking precautions now,” Javid stated, including that the U.Okay. Well being Safety Company (UKHSA) is investigating the new variant.

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To date, 59 instances of the variant, generally known as B.1.1.529, have been found in South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana. A lot of the instances are in South Africa, the place the density of mutations on the new variant has raised fears it could be extra contagious than earlier strains.

The variant is essentially the most closely mutated that has been found, which may change the way in which it reacts to vaccines and coverings.

“That is essentially the most important variant we’ve got encountered to date and pressing analysis is underway to study extra about its transmissibility, severity and vaccine-susceptibility,” UKHSA Chief Govt Jenny Harries stated.

A World Well being Group technical crew is assembly South African officers Friday to assess the state of affairs.

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