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EU looks to halt flights from southern Africa amid new COVID-19 variant fears

The variant has a spike protein that’s dramatically completely different to the one within the authentic coronavirus that COVID-19 vaccines are primarily based on, the UK Health Security Agency stated, elevating fears about how present vaccines, profitable towards the extra acquainted delta variant, will fare.

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

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is to maintain a gathering in Geneva at 1100 GMT (Friday, 10pm AEDT). Experts will focus on the dangers it presents and if it ought to be designated as a variant of curiosity or variant of concern, WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier stated.

Nearly 100 sequences of the variant have been reported, and early evaluation exhibits it has “a large number of mutations” requiring additional examine, Mr Lindmeier stated.

One epidemiologist stated it could be too late to tighten journey curbs.

“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,” stated Ben Cowling of the University of Hong Kong.

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Image for read more article ''Very high number of mutations': South Africa detects new COVID-19 variant'

Scientists are nonetheless studying concerning the variant, first recognized at first of this week, however the news pummelled monetary markets, with shares in Asia on Friday struggling their sharpest drop in three months and oil plunging greater than 3 per cent.

“Fear has gripped the financial markets with the travel industry flying into another violent storm,” stated Susannah Streeter, senior funding and markets analyst with Hargreaves Lansdown.

The variant, known as B.1.1.529, has additionally been present in Botswana and Hong Kong, in accordance to the UK Health Security Agency.

India issued an advisory to all states to check and display screen worldwide travellers from South Africa and different “at risk” international locations after easing a few of its journey restrictions earlier this month. Singapore’s well being ministry stated it could additionally limit arrivals from South Africa and international locations close by as a precaution.

Italy imposed an entry ban on individuals who have visited a bunch of southern African states, together with South Africa, within the final 14 days.

Berlin will even declare South Africa a virus variant space after the detection of the new variant there, a well being ministry supply stated.


European international locations had already been increasing booster vaccinations and tightening curbs because the continent battles a fourth wave of the coronavirus, led by the delta variant, with many reporting report every day rises in circumstances.

The new wave comes as Europe and the United States enter winter, with extra individuals gathering indoors within the run-up to Christmas, offering an ideal breeding floor for an infection.

Germany reported a report of greater than 76,000 COVID-19 infections in a day as its air drive acquired prepared for the primary time within the pandemic to fly severely in poor health sufferers to different elements of the nation to unburden struggling hospitals.

The coronavirus has swept the world within the two years because it was first recognized in central China, infecting nearly 260 million individuals and killing 5.4 million.

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Image for read more article 'Europe is now battling a fourth wave of COVID-19. Will Australia avoid a similar fate?'

Japan additionally tightened border controls for guests from South Africa and 5 different African international locations, the Jiji news service reported. Its overseas ministry didn’t instantly reply to a Reuters request for remark.

Taiwan stated travellers from “high-risk” southern African international locations may have to go into quarantine.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated the nation was properly ready for the new variant, days after saying it could reopen its borders to absolutely vaccinated worldwide travellers from April 30.



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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

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