Discovery of new COVID-19 variants in the UK gets SA mulling over international travel

SABC News Coronavirus R 3 1 1 - Discovery of new COVID-19 variants in the UK gets SA mulling over international travel

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the Health Ministry will make a determination regarding travel from South Africa abroad after the UK announced that it had discovered another variant of coronavirus on their soil and the two new cases are contacts of people who had travelled from South Africa.

South Africa, last week, reported a new variant of coronavirus that is more transmissible.

The UK is quarantining new cases and placing restrictions on travel from South Africa.

Motsoaledi says it is up to individual countries to act to protect their citizens.

“The regulations that have been passed was that the borders, the airports and the seaports are open for everybody as long as they produce a COVID-19 certificate. We have not been told any other thing by the ministry. Perhaps they will inform us. The decision they have taken is their own. We will have to see what our own decision is in terms of the UK.”

EXPLAINER | What is the new COVID-19 variant 

Meanwhile, Britain has detected a new variant of the coronavirus in contacts of cases who have travelled from South Africa, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Wednesday.

“Thanks to the impressive genomic capability of the South Africans, we’ve detected two cases of another new variant of coronavirus here in the UK,” Hancock told a media briefing.

“Both are contacts of cases who have travelled from South Africa over the past few weeks.”

Britain is already battling to curb the spread of a mutated strain of the virus which is up to 70% more transmissible, and Hancock said the new variant appeared to have mutated further and was more infectious.

He said close contacts of those with the new variant were being quarantined and all those who had been in South Africa in the last fortnight also needed to quarantine.

He also said immediate restrictions were being imposed on travel from South Africa. -Additional reporting by Reuters 

 

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