The United Kingdom announced on Thursday, November 25 that it would ban the entry of travelers from six African countries, after South Africa announced the discovery of a new variant of Covid-19 with multiple mutations.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said all flights from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana would remain suspended from Friday afternoon (13 hours in Paris).
“We have the first indications of this type that it may be more permeable than the delta version and that the vaccines we currently have may be less effective.”, Mr Javid added.
According to him, British scientists are “Very concerned” Thus, to which South Africa attributes the recent increase in reported cases in the country and which has also been found in travelers from Botswana or Hong Kong. However, no cases have been reported in Great Britain.
“We will ask anyone arriving from these countries to isolate themselves in hotels from 4am (GMT) on Sunday”Javid said, those arriving before this date will have to self-isolate and undergo two PCR tests on the second and eighth day of their confinement. “And if anyone has come from these countries in the last ten days, we will ask them to do a PCR test”, she added.
This new version of Kovid-19 discovered in South Africa, named B.1.1529, has a number of “extremely high” mutation and “We can see that it has the potential to spread very rapidly”, South African virologist Tulio de Oliveira said in an online press conference. His team at the KRISP Research Institute, supported by the University of KwaZulu-Natal, discovered the beta version last year, which is highly contagious.
The metamorphosis of the initial virus could potentially make it more transmissible until the new version takes effect: this was the case with the delta variant initially discovered in India, and which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) , reduced the effectiveness of the anti-virus. -Covid-19 vaccines up to 40% against disease transmission.
At this point, South African scientists are unsure about the effectiveness of existing vaccines against the new form of the virus. “We have concerns that this variant may not only have an increased transmission potential, but it may also be able to bypass parts of our immune system.”Another researcher, Professor Richard Lessels, said.
22 cases in South Africa
According to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), so far 22 cases have been reported in the country, mostly affecting young people. Cases have also been reported in neighboring Botswana and Hong Kong in a person returning from a trip to South Africa. who said “to follow closely” It should meet on Friday to determine the new version and its dangerousness.
With 1,44,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic, the UK has been one of the countries hardest hit by COVID-19. The number of cases remains high – more than 47,000 in the past 24 hours as of Thursday – but more than 80% of people aged 12 and older have received a double injection of the vaccine, and about 30% have taken a third dose.
The UK government was widely criticized for slowing travel restrictions at the start of the pandemic, when it kept its borders open as infection rates skyrocketed.
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