A ‘ extremely mutant’ Covid variant has sparked a ban around the world on non-essential travel to South Africa and neighboring states, with Denmark, Morocco, the Philippines plus Spain becoming the latest nations to impose restrictions.
Speaking upon Friday, European Commission Chief executive Ursula von der Leyen called for all air travel from countries with reported situations of the new variant to become suspended until officials have a better understanding of the risk this poses.
The EU’s announcement came after Denmark and Spain joined other European nations in limiting travel to the region, whilst, internationally, Morocco and the Philippines took similar steps to limit movement to a group of countries deemed at risk.
Germany has declared S. africa a “ trojan variant area, ” the country’s wellness minister Jens Spahn had written on Twitter. It means “ airlines will only be allowed to transport Germans” from the country.
All arrivals would be required to quarantine for fourteen days, even if they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or have recovered, Spahn added.
The Dutch authorities made a similar move, announcing a ban on flights from S. africa to the Netherlands from night time.
Italy and Czech Republic were furthermore quick to follow some other European nations in impacting restrictions.
Rome has banned access to all arrivals from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini. Prague has also said that non-nationals which recently visited South Africa will not be allowed into Czechia.
Later in the day, France said that it was hanging flights from southern The african continent for at least 48 hrs, with Health Minister Olivier Veran announcing that all people who recently arrived from the region are going to be tested and monitored closely.
In the meantime, French PM Jean Castex revealed that talks amongst EU leaders on how to react to the new strain, which up to now hasn’t been diagnosed on the continent, are going to take place “ over the next hours”.
The planet Health Organization (WHO) states the large number of mutations in the newly-discovered variant raises severe concerns over how it will impact diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccinations.
The UK also restricted air travel to and from South Africa and its neighbors, using the country’s Health Security Company saying that “ this is the worst variant we now have seen so far. ”
Countries further than Europe have also been worried about the newest variant, with Malaysia, The japanese, Singapore and Bahrain impacting restrictions on travelers in the southern Africa region.
Israel also positioned a ban on arrivals through southern Africa but then extended that “ reddish colored zone” to almost the whole continent, just excluding some north-African nations.