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UK bans flights from countries near South Africa to stem spread of mutant COVID-19 variant

COVID-19: Global death toll surpasses 600,000, as South Africa now ranks 5th in virus cases worldwide

Concerned authorities in the United Kingdom have banned flights from countries near South Africa from entering England to stop the spread of the mutant COVID-19 variant.

This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday by the UK Department for Transport which said that the rule which will take effect on January 9 will affect arrivals from Namibia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Botswana, as well as island nations Mauritius and Seychelles.

The Department for Transport however said that the restriction which also affects travelers arriving from Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho and Mozambique, will not affect British and Irish nationals who are exempted from the ban.

READ ALSO: South Africa’s Covid-19 cases hit one million mark as new wave soars

This came after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that there is no sign that the South African COVID-19 variant currently sweeping across the country can resist virus vaccines.

This was contained in a statement issued on Wednesday by WHO’s technical chief, Maria Van Kerkhove who also added that those infected with different variants of the virus presented same symptoms of the disease and there was no severity.

However, Maria said that the COVID-19 variant had increased transmission with regards to how many people one can infect.

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