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UK Suspends Flights to 6 African Countries as New Covid Variant Emerges

Following indications that a new Covid strain with more than 30 mutations is spreading in South Africa, UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced a temporary suspension of flights from six nations on Thursday.

The UK Health Security Agency has labeled Variant B.1.1.529 a Variant under Investigation (VuI) (UKHSA).

“A substantial number of spike protein mutations, as well as alterations in other sections of the viral genome, are present in this variety. These are biologically significant alterations that could alter the virus’s behavior in terms of vaccinations, therapies, and transmissibility. More research is necessary “In a statement, the UK Health Security Agency said.

UKHSA is “investigating a new strain and additional data is needed but we’re taking precautions now,” Javid stated on Twitter. “Six African nations will be added to the red list at noon tomorrow, flights will be temporarily suspended, and UK travelers will be required to quarantine,” he stated.

“We are taking preventive measures to preserve public health and the progress of our vaccine rollout as we enter the winter season, and we are actively monitoring the situation,” he added.

This announcement comes after media reports claimed that a new “major concern” Covid-19 version had been discovered in South Africa. According to the Financial Times, which cited sources, the World Health Organization (WHO) will hold an emergency conference on Friday to investigate the potentially swiftly spreading Covid strain discovered in South Africa and Botswana.

Earlier reports in the UK media claimed that UK experts had warned of the arrival in Botswana of a coronavirus strain with 32 mutations.

The strain contains more modifications in the spike protein than all previous COVID-19 variants, according to the Russian news agency. Many of the mutations imply its high transmissibility and vaccination resistance. The novel strain was later confirmed in South Africa by the South African National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

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