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Countries ban travel to South Africa

Dec. 24, 2020 2 min read

2 min read

SEVERAL countries have imposed travel bans on South Africa after the discovery of a new and potentially more infectious SARS-CoV-2 variant was confirmed.

The 501.v2 variant has been identified in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and along the Garden Route. It may have properties that allow it to spread faster than other variants of the coronavirus.

Reports show that the new variant has three mutations which is an unusually high number for a new variant and can bind more easily to receptor in the human body.

Evidence suggests that the current second wave South Africa is experiencing is being driven by this new variant.
Israel, Turkey, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland are among countries that have halted air travel to and from South Africa following the announcement that the new variant of the COVID-19 virus is driving South Africa’s resurgence of the disease, with higher numbers of confirmed cases, hospitalisations and deaths.
The new strain, different from the one in the United Kingdom appears to be more infectious than the original virus. Additionally South African scientists are studying if the vaccines against COVID-19 will also offer protection against the new strain.
On the other hand, in response to the resurgence of COVID-19, the South African government introduced tougher lockdown restrictions, which include limited days and hours for the trade of alcohol and the closure of beaches in areas identified as hotspots.
South Africa currently has more than 8 500 people hospitalised with COVID-19, surpassing the previous high of 8 300 recorded in August. So far a total of 930 711 virus cases have been recorded including 24 907 deaths.

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Furthermore the United Kingdom has been hit with a swell of flight suspensions across the European Union and the world. Bans impacting South Africa, as a result of the 501.v2 variant’s presence, are likely to follow from countries like France, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Italy, India, Ireland (flights and ferries), Austria, Hong-Kong, Canada, El Salvador, Colombia, Morocco, Chile (effective Tuesday), Finland, Argentina.
Meanwhile, large numbers of Basotho working and staying in South Africa are crossing into the country each day for the Christmas and New Year's holidays. LeNA

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