New South African Coronavirus Variant Prompts Alarmed Europe And Asia To Tighten Borders

Global authorities expressed alarm on Friday over a brand new coronavirus variant that was detected within South Africa, with the EU, Britain and India among the countries that announced tighter frontier controls. Scientists were trying to determine whether the mutation was a vaccine-resistant.

Britain has banned flights to South Africa and neighbouring countries and demanded British passengers returning from the region to undergo quarantine. European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen declared that the EU is also working to stop flights from the region.

Scientists are still studying the variant, which was identified this week however the news shook oil and global stocks with fears of what the new travel restrictions could cause to the already unstable economies in the southern region of Africa.

The variant contains an apex protein that is significantly different from that found in the first coronavirus COVID-19 vaccines are built on The UK Health Security Agency said this week, causing concern about how the vaccines currently in use which are successful against the well-known delta variant, would fare.

“As scientists have described, (this is) the most significant variant they’ve encountered to date,” British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News.

The World Health Organization (WHO) will hold a meeting at Geneva around 1100 GMT. Experts will be discussing the risks that it poses and whether it is appropriate to classify it as an alternative of concern or a risky variant, WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said.

Nearly 100 different sequences of the variant have been identified The initial analysis suggests that it is carrying “a large number of mutations” that require further research according to Lindmeier.

One expert in epidemiology suggested it could not be time to enforce the travel bans.

“I think we have to recognise that most likely this virus is already in other places. And so if we shut the door now, it’s going to be probably too late,” said Ben Cowling of the University of Hong Kong.

South Africa will speak to British authorities in an effort for a change in its ban on the country, Pretoria’s ministry of foreign relations in Pretoria stated.

“Our immediate concern is the damage that this decision will cause to both the tourism industries and businesses of both countries,” Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said in a statement.

The variant, dubbed B.1.1.529 has also been discovered in Botswana as well as Hong Kong, according to the UK Health Security Agency. Israel has said it is preventing its citizens from going to South Africa following a case where the new strain was identified in a person returning from Malawi.

“We are currently on the verge of a state of emergency,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, according to a statement from his office.

“Our main principle is to act fast, strong and now.”

As Europe confronts a fourth wave of the coronavirus, headed by the delta form, several countries have already increased booster vaccines and tightened restrictions, with many reporting record daily increases in cases.

The fresh wave and identification of the novel variation coincide with the arrival of winter in Europe and the United States, with more people gathering indoors in the run-up to Christmas, creating an ideal breeding environment for infection.

According to a health ministry source, Italy has put an entrance restriction on persons who have visited southern African countries in the previous 14 days, and Germany will name South Africa a viral variant area.

(Adapted from

Categories: Economy & Finance, Regulations & Legal, Strategy, Sustainability, Uncategorized

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