Sumary of South Africa to be put on England’s travel red list over new Covid variant:
- Flights from southern Africa will be banned, with six countries placed under England’s red list travel restrictions, after scientists raised the alarm over what is feared to be the worst Covid-19 variant yet identified.
- The latest data, presented by South African scientists on Thursday, revealed that the variant also appears to be more transmissible and is already present in provinces throughout the country.
- As well as placing South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe on England’s travel red list and banning flights from Friday, officials are reviewing a number of travel measures including whether there should be a limited reintroduction of the use of PCR tests for arrivals.
- Israel also announced it will ban its citizens from travelling to southern Africa – covering the same six countries as well as Mozambique – and barring the entry of foreign travellers from the region.
- ”Ewan Birney, the deputy director general of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and a member of Spi-M, which advises the UK government, said it posed a risk of worsening the pandemic.
- The first detected cases of the variant were collected in Botswana on 11 November and a case has also been found in Hong Kong – a 36-year-old man who tested positive while in quarantine after a trip to South Africa.
- In the past 48 hours, South African scientists reviewed PCR test data from the Gauteng region and discovered the variant appeared to be behind the increase in cases, having risen to account for about 90% of cases in a matter of weeks.
- At a national level, South Africa’s daily number of infections hit 1,200 on Wednesday, up from 106 earlier in the month.