The new strain of coronavirus has spread fear in European and Asian countries
B.1.1.529, the name of a new strain of coronavirus, has spread fear in several countries in Europe and Asia. The United Kingdom has announced the suspension of flights to six African states, including: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Eswatini.
Germany has said it is introducing South Africa to the list of countries with a new strain of coronavirus, which means that new travel restrictions will also apply between South Africa and Germany. Meanwhile, Spain announced the suspension of flights to South Africa and Botswana on November 30, 2021. France announced the suspension of flights to South Africa for at least 48 hours. People who have traveled to South Africa in the last 14 days are being called by the authorities for an RT-PCR test.
At the same time, several Asian countries, including Singapore and Malaysia, have limited travel to South Africa. Japan is not blocking flights, but is tightening border controls on arrivals from the African region affected by the new coronavirus strain. India has also issued an alert due to the new variant of COVID-19 detected in southern Africa.
Several researchers have mentioned that the new strain of coronavirus has undergone numerous mutations, including on the Spike protein, which could compromise the effectiveness of existing vaccines. It is not yet known how dangerous this strain is, but we know from the history of the two years of the pandemic that a new strain can mean a higher rate of infection, severity and even an increase in the mortality rate.