UK announces ban on flights to six African countries as new Covid version emerges


New Delhi: In a new measure, the UK has ordered the temporary suspension of flights from six countries after a new COVID variant with more than 30 mutations was detected in South Africa.

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid briefed on the latest measure on the trip. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the B.1.1.529 variant has been found in small numbers in South Africa.

The temporary suspension comes as the new version has been declared a version under investigation (VUI) by the UK Health Protection Agency (UKHSA), according to Reuters.

“Variants include a large number of spike protein mutations as well as mutations in other parts of the viral genome. These are potentially biologically important mutations that could alter the behavior of the virus with respect to vaccines, treatments and transmissibility. More investigation is needed, the UK’s health protection agency said in a statement.

Javid said on Twitter that UKHSA is “investigating a new version and more data is needed but we are taking precautions for now.” “From noon six African countries will be added to the red list, flights will be temporarily banned, and UK travelers will have to be quarantined,” he said.

“We are taking precautionary action to protect public health and at a critical moment as we enter winter as our vaccine rollout progresses, and we are monitoring the situation closely,” he said. said.

The development comes after reports that a new COVID-19 variant of “serious concern” had been detected in South Africa. The Financial Times quoted sources as saying that the WHO will have an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the potentially rapidly spreading Covid strain in South Africa and Botswana.

Earlier, UK media reports said UK scientists had warned of the presence of a coronavirus strain in Botswana, which has 32 mutations in Botswana, according to Reuters.

The Russian News Agency reported that several mutations indicate its high transmittance and resistance to vaccines, with the strain having more mutations in the spike protein than all other COVID-19 variants. The South African National Institute of Infectious Diseases also later confirmed that the new strain had been found in South Africa.