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South Africa and five other countries will be added to England’s red list, one month after the more stringent travel restrictions have been lifted.

The return of the red list comes as variant B.1.1.529 COVID-19 has been detected in South Africa and Botswana.

Travelers arriving from South Africa will now need to self-quarantine upon arrival in the UK, along with five other southern African countries.

Sajid Javid, Britain’s Health Secretary, said six countries would be added to the red list at 12 p.m. GMT on Friday, November 26. He also added that flights would be temporarily banned between those countries and the UK.

The countries added to the red list are:

  • South Africa
  • Namibia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Botswana
  • Lesotho
  • Eswatini

“The first indications we have of this variant are that it may be more transmissible than the Delta variant and that the vaccines we currently have may be less effective,” explains Javid.

According to him, British scientists are “very concerned” by this variant.

“We will ask anyone arriving from these countries from 4 a.m. on Sunday to quarantine themselves in hotels,” Javid said, adding that those arriving before that date will have to self-isolate and perform two tests. PCR on the second and eighth days of their confinement.

“And if someone has arrived from these countries in the last ten days, we will ask them to do PCR tests,” he adds.

The most disturbing variant to date

Experts said the B.1.1.529 variant could be the deadliest and most disturbing yet. This is because of his “horrific peak mutation profile”, which scientists say could help him escape immunity. The first reports suggest that it is able to reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine to only 30%.

There are already nearly 59 identified cases of the variant in South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana – which the World Health Organization should name “Nu” – but none have been reported in the UK.

Authorities are now believed to be hoping to trace hundreds of people who arrived in the UK from South Africa over the past week, in a bid to avoid introducing the new strain.

More than 500 passengers arrive in the UK from South Africa every day.

From 12:00 tomorrow (Friday), non-UK and Irish residents will not be allowed to enter England if they have been in one of the six banned countries in the last 10 days.

Any British or Irish resident entering England after 4 a.m. Sunday must self-quarantine in a hotel, those returning between Friday and Sunday must self-isolate at home.

Anyone who has returned within the last 10 days from the six listed countries will be asked to take a PCR test by the UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA).

Britain has been among the countries hardest hit by COVID-19, with 144,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The number of cases remains high – more than 47,000 in the past 24 hours on Thursday – but more than 80% of people aged 12 and over received a double injection of the vaccine, and nearly 30% received a third dose. .

The UK government was widely criticized for being slow to tighten travel restrictions at the start of the pandemic, when it kept its borders open as infection rates skyrocketed.


euronews Gt

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