UK suspends flights with 6 countries as new COVID version emerges

UK suspends flights with 6 countries as new COVID version emerges

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid on Thursday announced the temporary suspension of flights to six countries after reports emerged that a new COVID variant with more than 30 mutations is spreading in South Africa.

This comes as variant B.1.1.529 has been declared a variant under investigation (VUI) by the UK Health Protection Agency (UKHSA).

“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 announcement comes amid media reports that a new COVID-19 variant of “grave concern” has been detected in South Africa.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is convening an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss a potentially rapidly spreading COVID strain in South Africa and Botswana, the Financial Times reported, citing sources.

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

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.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)

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