The worrying profile of the new variant, identified in South Africa at the center of a WHO meeting on Friday, is prompting many countries to close their borders with southern Africa.
The UK announced earlier on Thursday that it would ban the entry of travelers from six African countries, namely South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana. This measure will be effective this Friday at 12 noon GMT.
This Friday morning, Germany in turn indicated that it would refuse foreign travelers from South Africa. Like Italy, which bans entry to its territory for anyone who has lived in southern Africa “during the past 14 days”, Health Minister Roberto Speranza on Friday called for “maximum precaution” in the face of the new version of Covid-19. Having announced. Israel and Singapore have made similar arrangements.
For its part, the European Commission has proposed suspending flights from the southern African region, its president Ursula von der Leyen announced on Friday. Ms von der Leyen tweeted: “The European Commission, in close coordination with Member States, will propose to activate the emergency brake to prevent air travel from the Southern African region due to version b.220.127.116.119.”
“The situation is changing very quickly”
He did not say how many countries in southern Africa are concerned. The European Executive is due to present a resolution to representatives of member states at its meeting on Friday. It would then be up to the council (a body representing the thirty-seven) to adopt such a recommendation. “The situation is changing very rapidly; We want to make sure we do our best to slow the spread of this variant,” a commission spokesman told AFP.
Faced with this situation, Pretoria has already expressed its displeasure with London, which has announced sanctions. South Africa respects “the right of all countries to take necessary precautionary measures to protect their citizens”, but considers the decision at least “hurry”, while the WHO has yet to decide on “next steps”. It is, he says, the Ministry of External Affairs. “Our immediate concern is that this decision will harm the tourism industries and businesses of both countries,” Minister Naldi Pandor said in this press release. Reconsider your decision.”
concerned financial center
A potentially highly infectious variant with multiple mutations has already been identified in several countries. Currently, scientists are wondering about the effectiveness of vaccines against this variant, which “may not only have an increased transmission potential, but may also be able to bypass parts of our immune system,” says Health. said Professor Richard Lessells of the ministry’s press.
According to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), 22 cases have been reported so far, mostly affecting young people. Cases of a man returning from a trip to South Africa have also been reported in neighboring Botswana and Hong Kong. A case of a new version of Kovid-19 has been reported in Israel. Israel’s Ministry of Health has announced that it has detected a case of a new variant of COVID-19 discovered in South Africa. “The variant found in the southern African states has been identified in Israel. This is a person who returned from Malawi,” the ministry said, adding that it fears “two additional cases of people who returned from abroad” and kept in prison.
The WHO has announced the new version will be “closely followed” and should meet on Friday to determine its dangerousness. But already this version worries financial centers. The Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 3% in the afternoon. In Paris, the CAC 40 falls 4% at opening.
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