SOUTH Africa will be one of six countries that are subject to a travel ban to stop the spread of a new Covid strain.
Senior scientists in the Government said that the super-mutant is the “worst variant they have seen so far” – with vaccines expected to be at least a third less effective against it.
Experts say the strain is behind an explosion in South Africa’s number of cases. In fact, some areas have seen six-fold increases in infection rates in just a few days.
According to Health Secretary Sajid Javid, flights from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Botswana as well as Botswana and Eswatini, will be suspended starting at midday tomorrow. All six countries will then be added to the redlist.
Javid claimed that South Africa has identified a new variant. “may be more transmissible”The Delta strain, and additional “the vaccines that we currently have may be less effective”
Officials are also trying desperately to track down thousands of migrants who have reached South Africa over the past ten working days.
Although scientists said it was unlikely that the new strain would be found in the UK due to the number of people who fly in one day, they couldn’t rule it out.
Currently called B.1.1.529, the bug has 32 mutations – twice as many as the delta variant.
It has been discovered in South Africa as well as Botswana, Hong Kong and Hong Kong.
Today is the World Health Organisation’s meeting [Fri]Decide whether to declare the bug an imminent danger.
The new strain of virus has spooked government scientists, who said that the virus spike protein was their main concern. “dramatically different”The original Covid virus.
It means the vaccines and blockbuster new drugs will struggle to neutralise it – with optimistic estimates it will reduce efficacy by around a third.
WHO experts are most likely going to name the variant “Nu”When they meet to discuss it, they will use, the next letter of the Greek alphabet.
The new variant seems to be very popular
Dr Tulio de Oliveira
Dr Tulio de oliveira is a leading Covid tracker from South Africa. He said that it was “of great concern”And has quickly become the dominant variety.
He said: “This new variant seems to spread very quick.
“In less than two weeks it now dominates all infections following a devastating Delta wave in South Africa.
“The new variant is now at 75 per cent of the last genomes and is soon to reach 100 per cent.”
At least 77 cases were reported in the country, but there are many more.
UK virus scientists said that it was the most worrying virus they’ve seen since Delta emerged.
Ministers were urged to immediately stop travel from southern Africa and develop new vaccines to combat some of the mutations.
More to come…
Sun Online provides the latest information on this story.
Thesun.co.uk is your go to destination for the best celebrity news, football news, real-life stories, jaw-dropping pictures and must-see video.