Health Minister Sajid Javid announced Thursday night that from Friday noon six countries – South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini – will be back on the Red Travel List. It means that All flights from these countries will be suspended, only citizens and residents of Great Britain and Ireland will be able to enter the UK from them, but upon arrival they will have to undergo paid quarantine at the hotel.
Worldwide, only 59 cases of variant B.1.1.529 have been confirmed so far – mostly in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong. No case has been detected in the UK yet, but the government has advised all those who have returned from one of these six countries in the past 10 days to get a coronavirus test prophylactically.
Minister Javid said that scientists are “deeply concerned” about the new variantalthough you need to learn more about it. As he said, we know he has a significant number of mutations, “perhaps twice as many mutations as we saw in Delta variant“That would suggest that it might be more transmissible and the current vaccines we have might be less effective,” he explained.
The Minister of Health indicated that adding six countries to the red list is a precautionary measure, whose aim is to protect the borders as best as possible. At the beginning of October, the last seven countries were removed from the British Red Travel List, although the list was left behind should the situation deteriorate.
World Health Organization experts will meet on Friday to evaluate the variant, which was classified as the surveillance variant on Wednesday. If elevated to a disturbing variant, it could get a name from the Greek alphabet.