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South Africa terms UK’s travel ban over new Covid-19 variant as ‘Rushed’

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date
South Africa terms UK’s travel ban over new Covid-19 variant as ‘Rushed’

Johannesburg: Reacting to Britain’s decision to ban flights from South Africa after the detection of a new COVID-19 variant, South Africa’s foreign ministry called the act “rushed”, as even the World Health Organization is yet to advise on the next steps.

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Scientists have so far only detected the B.1.1.529 variant in relatively small numbers in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong, but they are concerned by its high number of mutations which could help it evade the body’s immune response and make it more transmissible.

Britain on Thursday temporarily banned flights from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Eswatini from Friday after its detection was announced.

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

South Africa will engage with British authorities to try to get them to reconsider their decision, the statement added.

Also Read :- Third wave of Covid-19 may reach its peak in India by February: IIT scientist warns

South Africa has requested an urgent sitting of a World Health Organization working group on virus evolution on Friday to discuss the new variant.

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