The United Kingdom has banned travel from six southern Africa countries, after a troubling new variant of Covid-19 emerged.
About 50 confirmed cases have been identified in South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana
All flights would be suspended from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana to help stop the spread of the variant, B.1.1.529, that has 32 mutations in the spike protein, the part of the virus that most vaccines use to prime the immune system against Covid.
Virologists believe it is an offshoot of an older variant called B.1.1, which was first spotted in Botswana where three cases have now been sequenced.
“The early indication we have of this variant is it may be more transmissible than the Delta variant and the vaccines that we currently have may be less effective against it,” Health Secretary Sajid Javid said.
But he said British scientists were “deeply concerned” and as a precaution a decision had been to suspend all flights from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana from Friday.
After 4am on Sunday, new arrivals in the UK will be required to quarantine in hotels.
Scott Morrison ignores it is a vaccine escaped variant and still pushes for vaccination in Australia.
“What is more important is the best protection against any variants, including, and those that are present, is vaccination. And having those vaccinations,’ Mr Morrison said.