Nov 26, 2021

WHO to discuss new Covid-19 variant today

The variant is called B.1.1.529 and is likely to be given a Greek code-name (like the Alpha and Delta variants) by the World Health Organization on Friday.

It is early days and the confirmed cases are still mostly concentrated in one province in South Africa, but there are hints it may have spread further.

The latest is the most heavily mutated version discovered so far and described by health experts as the worst variant they'd seen.

Prof Tulio de Oliveira, the director of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation in South Africa, said there was an "unusual constellation of mutations" and that it was "very different" to other variants that have circulated.

Questions have been raised as to how quickly the new variant spreads, its ability to bypass some of the protection given by vaccines and what should be done about it.

Meanwhile, travellers arriving in England from several southern African countries will have to quarantine amid warnings over a new coronavirus variant.

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said from 12:00 GMT on Friday six countries would be added to the red list, with flights being temporarily banned. Accordingly, all flights from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini are being suspended.

(BBC News)

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