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UK suspending flights from 6 African countries over new coronavirus variant fears: 'Our scientists are deeply concerned'

UK suspending flights from 6 African countries over new coronavirus variant fears: 'Our scientists are deeply concerned'
Britain's health and social care secretary, Sajid Javid.Andrew Matthews/Pool/Reuters


A new coronavirus variant has been identified in Botswana and South Africa.




Dubbed B.1.1.529, it has many mutations, concerning scientists and the World Health Organization.




The UK instituted travel restrictions on Thursday for six African countries following the news.


The United Kingdom is adding six African countries to its "red" travel list and is temporarily suspending flights over concerns about a new coronavirus variant.Sajid Javid, the UK secretary of state for health and social care, made the announcement Thursday soon after the World Health Organization gave a briefing about the variant, dubbed B.1.1.529. It was initially identified in Botswana. Cases have sprung up there and in South Africa.South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, and Zimbabwe are now set to enter the UK's red listA on Friday, restricting travel from them.Javid said that the variant hadn't been detected in the UK yet and that its implications were still unclear. But based on the early indications, it may be more transmissible than the Delta variant and the latest vaccines may be less effective against it, he said.
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