SA Back on UK Red List After New Covid-19 Variant Detected

Event Africa Contributor 26/11/2021 Uncategorized

The UK has temporarily banned travellers from six African countries, including South Africa, following an announcement by SA health authorities that a new Covid-19 variant has been detected in the country.

SA’s Department of Health stated on Thursday that more than 20 cases of the variant named B.1.1.529 had been confirmed.

UK Secretary of State Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, later said that they were investigating the new variant but are “taking precautions for now”.

“From noon tomorrow six African countries will be added to the red list, flights will be temporarily banned, and UK travellers must quarantine,” Javid said.

Javid said. “Those countries are South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana. We will be requiring anyone that arrives from those countries from 4am on Sunday to quarantine in hotels. If anyone arrives before then they should self-isolate at home and take a PCR test on day two and day eight. And if anyone has arrived from any of those countries over the last 10 days, we would ask them to take PCR tests.”

The detection of the new B.1.1.529 variant has raised fears of a fourth wave arriving in South Africa and an imminent announcement of more severe lockdown measures over the festive season.

On Thursday night the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported 2,465 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 2,952,500. This increase represents a 6.5% positivity rate. As per the National Department of Health, a further 114 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported, bringing total fatalities to 89,771 to date.