Following the discovery of a new variant of the Covid-19 by South African scientists, the UK government has imposed temporary travel restrictions on six African countries.
The countries are South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, and Eswatini, and travellers from the affected countries will not be allowed into the UK shores from Friday.
The new coronavirus variant, B.1.1.529, has already recorded 59 cases three days after its discovery while infections have been confirmed in South Africa, Hong Kong, and Botswana.
In a statement on Thursday by UK Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, said “the UK Health Security Agency is investigating a new variant. More data is needed but we’re taking precautions now.”
“From noon, November 26, six African countries will be added to the red list, flights will be temporarily banned, and UK travellers must quarantine.”
“The B.1.1.529 variant could be the most lethal and worrying yet. This is because of its awful spike mutation profile which scientists fear could help it evade immunity. Early reports suggest it is capable of reducing vaccine efficiency to just 30 per cent.
“The first indications we have of this variant are that it may be more transmissible than the Delta variant and that the vaccines we currently have may be less effective.
“We will ask anyone arriving from these countries from 4 a.m. on Sunday to quarantine themselves in hotels,” Javid said.
The Health Secretary added that those arriving before that date will have to self-isolate and do two PCR tests on the second and eighth day of their confinement.
“And if someone has arrived from these countries in the last ten days, we will ask them to do PCR tests.”