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UK suspends flights to six African nations as new COVID variant emerges with over 30 mutations


London: UK Well being Secretary Sajid Javid on Thursday introduced a brief suspension of flights from six nations after studies emerged {that a} new COVID variant with greater than 30 mutations is spreading in South Africa. The brand new Variant B.1.1.529 is said a Variant below Investigation (VuI) by the UK Well being Safety Company (UKHSA).

“The variant contains a lot of spike protein mutations in addition to mutations in different components of the viral genome. These are probably biologically vital mutations that will change the behaviour of the virus close to vaccines, remedies and transmissibility. Extra investigation is required,” UK Well being Safety Company stated in a press release.

Taking to Twitter, Javid stated UKHSA is “investigating a brand new variant and extra knowledge is required however we`re taking precautions now.” “From midday tomorrow six African nations will likely be added to the crimson listing, flights will likely be quickly banned, and UK travellers should quarantine,” he stated.

“We’re taking precautionary motion to guard public well being and the progress of our vaccine rollout at a essential second as we enter winter, and we’re monitoring the scenario intently,” he added.

This announcement comes after media studies stated {that a} new COVID-19 variant of “severe concern” has been detected in South Africa.

The World Well being Group (WHO) is convening an emergency assembly right this moment to debate the possibly quickly spreading COVID pressure present in South Africa and Botswana, the Monetary Instances reported, citing sources.

Earlier, UK media studies stated that scientists from the UK had warned of the looks of a coronavirus pressure, which comprises 32 mutations, in Botswana.

Lots of the mutations point out its excessive transmissibility and resistance to vaccines, the pressure has extra adjustments within the spike protein than all different COVID-19 variants, the Russian information company reported. 

The South African Nationwide Institute of Infectious Ailments later additionally confirmed that the brand new pressure had been present in South Africa. 

Hong Kong detects new COVID-19 variant 

Hong Kong has detected a newly recognized COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.529, inflicting a spike in new Covid-19 infections in South Africa, in line with native media studies. This information, with a lot of spike protein mutations, has led the UK to impose a journey ban from some African nations. 

It has additionally been declared a Variant below Investigation (VuI) by the UK Well being Safety Company (UKHSA). “These are probably biologically vital mutations which can change the behaviour of the virus close to vaccines, remedies and transmissibility. Extra investigation is required,” UK Well being Safety Company stated in a press release.

The World Well being Group (WHO) has known as for a particular assembly to debate the brand new Covid variant.”We don`t know very a lot about this but. What we do know is that this variant has a lot of mutations. And the priority is that when you’ve got so many mutations, it might have an effect on how the virus behaves,” Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO`s the technical lead on Covid-19, stated in a briefing.

Reportedly, the brand new variant was discovered earlier in two males quarantined on the Regal Airport Lodge in Chek Lap Kok. The Hong Kong well being authorities confirmed that the brand new variant was introduced in by one of many males who had flown in from South Africa.

The primary affected person then allegedly handed on the virus to a different man who was staying in a neighbouring room on the lodge, The Straits Instances reported citing Hong Kong public broadcaster RTHK.

The probe into the 2 instances confirmed that that they had extremely related genetic sequences, including that the viruses they carried belong to the B.1.1.529 variant, in line with Hong Kong`s Centre for Well being Safety (CHP).





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