COVID-19 live updates: 1st European case of new variant from South Africa confirmed

The United Kingdom introduced Thursday new journey restrictions for six nations over considerations about a new variant of the novel coronavirus that emerged in South Africa.

The variant, generally known as B.1.1.529, has additionally been present in Botswana and Hong Kong in vacationers from southern Africa. It has not but been detected within the U.Ok., officers mentioned.

“The early indications we’ve got of this variant is that it might be extra transmissible than the delta variant, and the vaccines that we at present have could also be much less efficient towards it,” U.Ok. Health Secretary Sajid Javid mentioned throughout a briefing Thursday.

Starting noon on Friday, all flights from six southern African nations — South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana — might be quickly suspended, and vacationers coming into the U.Ok. from these nations after 4 a.m. on Sunday should quarantine in a government-approved lodge for 10 days.

Currently, B.1.1.529 just isn’t designated by the World Health Organization as a variant “of concern” or “of curiosity.” So far, 22 instances have been confirmed in South Africa, in line with the nation’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

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The WHO’s technical working group is scheduled to satisfy Friday to evaluate the new variant and will determine whether or not to provide it a reputation from the Greek alphabet, primarily based on its naming system for variants of concern and variants of curiosity.

The virus evolves because it spreads and plenty of new variants, together with these with worrying mutations, typically simply die out. Scientists monitor for doable modifications that might be extra transmissible or lethal, however finding out whether or not new variants can have a public well being impression can take time.

-ABC News’ Rashid Haddou-Riffi

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