Britain blocks flights to six African countries over new strain found in South Africa
The UK is worried about a new variant of coronavirus that is spreading in South Africa. Early studies show that vaccines are less effective in this variant and would jeopardize efforts to fight the pandemic, informs Reuters.
A new strain of coronavirus has been detected in South Africa
The UK Health Safety Agency said the variant, which is called B.1.1.529, has a top protein that is totally different from the one in the original coronavirus on which COVID-19 vaccines are based. The scientists said laboratory studies were needed to assess the likelihood that the mutations would lead to a much lower effectiveness of the vaccine.
The variant was first identified earlier this week, but the UK rushed to introduce travel restrictions in South Africa and five neighboring countries, acting much faster than the currently dominant Delta variant.
The United Kingdom has announced that it will temporarily ban flights from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Eswatini as of Friday, November 26th. British travelers traveling to the UK from those countries will be quarantined.