Alarm As

Alarm As The World Bans Entry To Travellers From South African Countries Over Pandemic


Alarm as the world bans travellers
OpenLife Nigeria reports that as a result of the new variant of the pandemic, most countries across the world have placed ban on travellers from South African countries where it is said to be gaining currency.
This development, among other effects, would derail Cricket South Africa’s lucrative summer.
As of July 2021, there are four dominant variants of SARS-CoV-2 spreading among global populations: the Alpha Variant (formerly called the UK Variant and officially referred to as B.1.1.7), first found in London and Kent, the Beta Variant (formerly called the South Africa Variant and officially referred to as B.1.351), the Gamma Variant (formerly called the Brazil Variant and officially referred to as P.1), and the Delta Variant (formerly called the India Variant and officially referred to as B.1.617.2).

Sri Lanka Bans Travellers From 6 African nations Due To Omicron Variant

Sri Lanka said Saturday it was barring travellers from six Southern African countries on Saturday over concerns about the new Omicron variant of Covid-19.
From Monday, travellers will not be allowed into the country from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini, Colombo said in a statement.
Travellers who arrived from these six countries over the past two days will have to undergo mandatory 14 days quarantine.
The World Health Organization on Friday declared the new coronavirus variant to be “of concern”.
It was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on Wednesday and has been identified in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel.

61 Ttravellers From South Africa Test Positive for Covid-19 After Arriving  Netherlands

Dutch health authorities said that 61 people who arrived in Amsterdam on two flights from South Africa on Friday tested positive for Covid-19, and they were conducting further testing early Saturday to see if any of the infections are with the recently discovered Omicron coronavirus variant.
Around 600 passengers arrived at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on the two KLM flights on Friday and then faced hours of delays and testing due to concerns over the new virus variant. The Dutch health ministry said early Saturday 61 tests had come back positive.
“Travelers with a positive test result will be placed in isolation at a hotel at or near Schiphol,” health authorities said in a statement. “Of the positive test results, we are researching as quickly as possible whether they are the new variant of concern, now named ‘Omicron’.”
The Dutch government banned all air travel from southern Africa early on Friday. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge determined that passengers already en route to the Netherlands would have to undergo testing and quarantine upon arrival.
Passengers on the two KLM flights, from Cape Town and Johannesburg, said they were kept waiting on the tarmac for hours.
The new variant has been detected just as many European countries are grappling with a surge in coronavirus cases. The Dutch government separately on Friday announced the night time closure of bars, restaurants and most stores as it tries to curb a record-breaking wave of Covid-19 cases that is swamping its healthcare system.
Oman has suspended entry to travellers from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini starting from 28 November due to the spread of a new variant of Covid-19, the country’s state news agency said in a tweet on Saturday.
Thailand on Saturday said it would ban entry of people travelling from eight African countries it designated as high-risk for the new B 1.1.529 Covid-19 variant, a senior health official said.
Starting in December, travel from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, will be prohibited, the official told a news conference.

New York Declares State Of Emergency Amid Omicron Variant Fears

New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency on Friday due to a rise in Covid-19 cases in the state and the threat of the omicron variant.
She said the variant hasn’t yet been detected in the state but that she decided to sign an executive order to allow the health department to limit non-essential, non-urgent procedures at hospitals and acquire critical supplies more quickly. The order takes effect December 3 and will be re-assessed based on the latest data on January 15.

WTO’s Big Conference Postponed Due To New Covid Variant

Next week’s World Trade Organization ministerial conference, the global trade body’s biggest gathering in four years, was postponed at the last minute Friday due to the new Omicron Covid-19 variant. The WTO hoped the four-day gathering in Geneva would breathe new life into the crippled organisation, which has been stuck for years trying to make progress on resolving issues like fishery subsidies.
New director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was also hoping, against the odds, to make progress towards a deal on lifting Covid vaccine patents, proving the WTO had a relevant role to play in combating the pandemic.

Brazil To Shut Its Borders To Six African Countries

Brazil will shut its borders to travellers arriving from six southern African countries, the chief of staff to President Jair Bolsonaro said on Friday.
The six countries are: South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, he said in another Twitter post.
Brazilian health regulator Anvisa had recommended earlier on Friday that travel be restricted from some African countries due to the detection of the new COVID-19 variant.
The European Union and several countries, including Britain and the United States, have also announced tightened border controls as researchers investigate whether the new mutation is vaccine-resistant.
In its technical note, Anvisa said that foreigners who have been to at least one of the six African countries cited in the prior 14 days should not be allowed to land in Brazil, while Brazilians arriving from those nations should be required to quarantine.
The news of the variant hammered travel stocks in Brazil throughout Friday.

Australia Bans Southern Africa Flights Over Virus Concerns

Australia banned flights from nine southern African countries on Saturday, tightening its borders to prevent the entry of the new Covid-19 Omicron variant.
Non-Australians who visited South Africa, Zimbabwe and several other nations in the past fortnight will also be barred from Australia, Heath Minister Greg Hunt said.
Citizens and residents travelling from the listed countries will have to quarantine for 14 days.
The variant — which has a large number of mutations — was first detected on November 9. Scientists are racing to understand how it behaves, but there are fears the strain may be more transmissible or render existing vaccines less effective.
The World Health Organisation listed Omicron as a variant of concern and said it could take several weeks to know if there are significant changes in transmissibility, severity or implications for Covid vaccines, tests and treatments.

UK Halts Flights From SA: Families Torn Apart Ahead Of Festive Season

Families have been torn apart by the United Kingdom’s decision to halt flights from South Africa amid the detection of a new Covid-19 variant.
News24 received an influx of stories from families who have been devastated by the news and the impact it will have ahead of the December holiday.


UK PM Johnson Tries To Reassure South Africa Over Travel Ban

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told South African President Cyril Ramaphosa that he would work to reopen international travel after Britain stopped flights from South Africa due to the spread of a new coronavirus variant.
South Africa has said that the travel ban is unjustified, and Britain did not engage with the country before introducing the flight ban.
“The Prime Minister spoke to President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa this afternoon. They discussed the challenges posed globally by the new Covid-19 variant, and ways to work together to deal with it and reopen international travel,” Johnson’s Downing Street office said.
“The Prime Minister commended South Africa’s rapid genomic sequencing and leadership in transparently sharing scientific data.”

Turkey Closes Borders

Turkish health minister says Turkey closes borders to passengers from five countries including South Africa due to new variant of Covid-19.
UAE suspends entry for travellers from 7 countries including South Africa, starting from 29 November – State News Agency

Fauci Says US Must Study Data Before Deciding On Travel Ban Over New Covid-19 Variant

Top US infectious disease official Anthony Fauci said on Friday that a ban on flights from southern Africa was a possibility and the United States was rushing to gather data on the new Covid-19 variant.
No decision to halt flights had yet been made, he said.
The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, said White House officials were discussing potential travel restrictions on southern African countries. Those officials were expected to meet with agency officials this afternoon to make a recommendation, the newspaper said, without specifying which agency.
The White House referred to Fauci’s earlier comments when asked about the report and declined further comment.
Global authorities have reacted with alarm to the new variant, detected in South Africa, with the European Union and Britain among those tightening border controls as scientists seek to find out if the mutation is vaccine-resistant.


WHO Designates Covid Variant Found In South Africa As “Of Concern”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday designated a new Covid-19 variant detected in South Africa with a large number of mutations as being “of concern,” the fifth variant to be given the designation.
The WHO said in a statement that it had assigned the B.1.1.529 variant the Greek letter Omicron.

SA Latest Covid-19 Numbers

South Africa has recorded 2 828 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours bringing the total infections to 2 955 328.The death toll is 89 783 after 12 more deaths were reported.
A total of 25 238 789 vaccinations have been administered – 115 337 in the past 24 hours.

Seychelles Ban South Africans ‘Until Further Notice’, As Restrictions Continue To Expand

More countries are imposing travel bans on South Africa following the detection of a highly mutated Covid-19 variant on Thursday.
South Africa’s Department of Health and scientists from the Network for Genomic Surveillance revealed details of a newly detected and highly mutated Covid-19 variant, B.1.1.529, on Thursday.
Just a few hours later, the United Kingdom (UK) announced that travellers from South Africa, and neighbouring countries, would be barred from entering England.
News of B.1.1.529, which has been detected in Botswana, Hong Kong, and South Africa, has rattled the prospect of international travel.

Guatemala To Restrict Southern African Travellers Due To New Covid-19 Variant, Says President

Guatemala will impose restrictions on visitors from some south African nations after a new fast-spreading coronavirus variant was discovered on the continent, President Alejandro Giammattei said on Friday.
Global authorities have reacted with alarm to the new variant detected in South Africa, with the European Union and Britain among those tightening border controls as researchers seek to find out if the mutation was vaccine-resistant.
“Yesterday we received the report of a new variant, for which we have already given the order for restrictions of people coming from those countries, which is not many,” the president told media.
Guatemala would limit entry to travellers from Lesotho, Mozambique and South Africa, the president said, although the Guatemalan Immigration Institute said it is still waiting to receive the presidential order.

Passengers From South Africa Face Wait, Covid-19 Testing In Amsterdam 

Several hundred passengers arriving in Amsterdam on two flights from South Africa on Friday faced hours of delays and testing due to concerns over a newly detected variant of the coronavirus.
The Dutch government issued a ban on all air travel from southern Africa early on Friday. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said in a statement that passengers already in the air would have to undergo testing and quarantine upon arrival.
Passengers on the two KLM flights, from Cape Town and Johannesburg, said they had been kept waiting on the tarmac for hours.
“Vigorous applause because there is a BUS that has come to take us … somewhere,” tweeted New York Times journalist Stephanie Nolen, a passenger on the flight from Johannesburg.
“Bus to a hall to a huge queue. I can see Covid testers in bright blue PPE far on the distance. Still no snacks for the sad babies,” she added in a second tweet.
The passengers “are currently being transferred to a secure location at Schiphol,” the airport said in a statement.
“Everything is done carefully and that’s why it took some time. Passengers are provided with food and drinks. They will be tested (for) the coronavirus.”
Local health authorities later clarified that only passengers that test positive for Covid-19 will be forced to quarantine. Results from the tests are expected later on Friday.
The Dutch government is expected to announce new restrictions, including the night-time closure of bars, restaurants and most stores, later on Friday as it grapples with a record-breaking wave of Covid-19 cases that is swamping its healthcare system.

Cyprus Bans Travel From Eight African States On New Covid-19 Concerns

Cyprus on Friday said it was banning arrivals from a number of African states, including South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, following the detection of a new Covid-19 variant.
The island’s Health Ministry said the travel ban applied to persons who had travelled from, or through, South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Botswana over the past 14 days.
The ban does not apply to Cypriot, EU nationals, nationals of the European Economic Area, Switzerland, or permanent Cyprus residents provided they carry a negative 72 hour PCR test and are tested again upon arrival. They will also have to quarantine in specially-designated hotels for a 10-day period, the Health Ministry said.
No cases of the new variant have been detected on the island, it added.
By late Thursday, Cyprus had recorded 131 951 cases of Covid-19 since its detection on the island in March 2020, and 590 deaths.

EU Countries Agree To Suspend Travel To Southern Africa

European Union states have agreed to suspend travel from southern Africa after the detection of a new Covid-19 variant, the presidency of the EU said on Friday.
A committee of health experts from all 27 EU states “agreed on the need to activate the emergency break and impose temporary restriction on all travel into EU from southern Africa”, the Slovenian presidency of the EU said on Twitter.
Restrictions will apply to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, European Commission spokesperson Eric Mamer said on Twitter.
“Tests, quarantine and contact tracing for incoming passengers are important,” he wrote.
The new coronavirus variant, first detected in South Africa, has caused global alarm as researchers seek to find out if it is vaccine-resistant.

Saudi Arabia Suspends Flights With 7 Countries Over Covid Concerns – SPA

Saudi Arabia has suspended flights to and from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini due to concerns related to the spread of Covid-19, the state news agency (SPA) reported on Friday.

Italy Imposes Entry Ban On Eight Southern African States – Statement

Italy on Friday imposed an entry ban on people who have visited any one of eight southern African states in the last 14 days, due to the spread of a new Covid-19 variant there.
Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza signed an executive order banning entry from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini.
“Our scientists are studying the new B.1.1.529 variant. In the meantime, we will adopt the greatest possible caution,” Speranza said.
Hong Kong Arrivals Ban Targets travellers From Southern Africa
Hong Kong’s government on Friday said it will ban non-Hong Kong residents arriving from eight southern African states from entering the territory if they had stayed in those countries within the past 21 days.
The measure, effective from Saturday, affects people arriving from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe, the government said in a statement.
“Along with South Africa which is already a specified high-risk place, non-Hong Kong residents who have stayed in these places within 21 days will not be allowed to enter the city”, it said.
A new coronavirus variant detected in South Africa has prompted the European Union, Britain and other states to tighten border controls as researchers sought to find out if the mutation was vaccine-resistant.

Japan To Require 10-Day Quarantine Over Variant

Japan said on Friday it will require a 10-day quarantine period for travellers arriving from six countries after the discovery in South Africa of a new Covid-19 variant.
From Saturday, Tokyo will ask travellers coming from South Africa and neighbouring Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana to stay at designated facilities on arrival.
They will also be tested immediately after landing, as well as three other times during their 10-day quarantine, the government said.

Brazil Health Regulator Seeks Travel Restrictions Over New Covid-19 Variant

Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa said on Friday the country should restrict travellers coming from African countries including South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia and Zimbabwe due to the new Covid-19 variant detected there.
The health agency does not have the authority to restrict traveling. Any decision should be taken by the executive branch, including the ministries of Justice, Health and Infrastructure, the agency said.

Belgium Confirms Case of New Virus Strain

Belgium said it has confirmed one case of a concerning new Covid-19 variant in someone who travelled from abroad.
Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke told reporters the variant was detected in an unvaccinated person who first tested positive for Covid-19 on 22 November.
The new strain prompted the European Union on Friday to recommend suspending air travel from the region. Belgium also Friday ordered a new set of steps to combat the spiralling growth of Covid-19 cases, including the closure of nightclubs for three weeks and restricting privately organised parties.
Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo said that restaurants and bars must limit tables to six people and close by 23:00. He also said the public will be banned from indoor sporting events.

Denmark Bans Non-Essential Travel To South Africa

Denmark bans non-essential travel to South Africa, other African countries, to prevent the spread of new coronavirus variant – health authorities.

New Covid-19 Variant Postpones SA United Rugby Championship Games

The United Rugby Championship fixtures, which were scheduled to be hosted in South Africa, have been postponed as the country grapples with the emergence of a new Covid-19 variant, SA Rugby announced in a statement on Friday.
As such, the URC will be facilitating the return of teams that were based in South Africa for the back-to-back fixtures.
“The safety and well-being of our participating clubs’ players, coaches, support staff and match officials is the foremost priority and the URC is currently working with the four visiting clubs – Cardiff Rugby, Munster Rugby, Scarlets and Zebre Parma – to facilitate their return as soon as possible,” the statement read.

Spain, Philippines Join Countries Suspending South African Flights Over New Covid-19 Variant

The Philippines suspended inbound international flights on Friday from South Africa and other countries with cases or the likelihood of cases of a new coronavirus variant, the presidential office said.
Flights and passengers coming from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique were banned until 15 December.
Meanwhile, Spain also announced that it was also suspending flights to South Africa and Botswana from Tuesday, due to the ride of the new Covid-19 variant, TVE broadcaster says.

UNWTO Chief Calls For Swift Decisions On Travel Restrictions

Countries need to decide “today” on applying travel restrictions over the emergence of a new coronavirus variant in Africa and make such rules uniform, especially in Europe, head of the Madrid-based United Nations’ tourism body said on Friday.
“My recommendation will be to take decisions today, not after one week, because if it continues to spread as we are expecting then it will be late and will make no sense to apply restrictions,” UN World Tourism Organisation Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili told Reuters.
He added that countries need to follow recommendations by the World Health Organisation in drawing up travel rules.

UK Citizen Due To Start New Job On Monday Desperate To Get Home Following SA Flight Ban

A British citizen who is supposed to start a new job in London on Monday is in limbo in South Africa after the UK banned flights from the country.
A worried Stephanie Cramer told News24 on Friday it didn’t look like she would return to the UK on Monday after getting a text from Virgin airlines on Thursday night that her flight back home had been cancelled.
“I am starting a job on Monday. I am stressed,” she said.
The news came after top scientists in South Africa detected the B.1.1.529 coronavirus variant and the UK temporarily halted flights from South Africa and neighbouring countries. The UK said as a safety measure it would deny entry to South Africans and others who had been in the southern African region in the previous 10 days.

Covid-19: Cape Town Mayor Lashes Out At Government Over Handling Of New Variant Announcement

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has lashed out at the national health department for its handling of the announcement of a new Covid-19 variant.
During the morning show on SAFM, SAfm Sunrise, Hill-Lewis called in and told presenter Stephen Grootes that he was “crushed” by the announcement, as it would have far-reaching implications for Cape Town’s tourism industry.
He told Grootes: “If we know we’re going to get punished for detecting new variants, as in the past…then surely, we should know what we’re dealing with before we go and announce it to the world.”

Flight Centre Cancels Black Friday Deals As SA Travel Bans Mount

The Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) has cancelled all its Black Friday travel deals as countries move to ban South African visitors following the discovery of a highly mutated Covid-19 variant.

Croatia Restricts Travel Rules Due To New Covid-19 Variant

Croatia will restrict the travel rules from several countries due to the new coronavirus variant, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic told reporters on Friday.
“We will ban arrivals from some countries or impose a quarantine of 14 days with obligatory testing,” he said.
He said the measure, which refers to the arrivals from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Hong Kong, would be formally taken later on Friday.

New Covid-19 Variant Threatens To Derail Cricket South Africa’s Lucrative Summer

The United Kingdom putting South Africa on the red list because of the new Covid-19 variant threatens to derail SA’s mouthwatering cricketing summer.

Scotland Says Quarantine For Southern Africa Travellers Will Be Open By Saturday

UK residents who make it back from South Africa during the course of Saturday – somehow – can avoid 10 days of expensive hotel quarantine in England. But if they were to travel to Scotland instead, they’ll have no option of at-home quarantine from Saturday instead, that nation has confirmed.

Czech Republic Bans Travel From South Africa, Others To Prevent New Coronavirus Variant

The Czech Republic bans travel from South Africa and other African countries to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus variant, Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek said on Friday. The ban which will take effect on Saturday applies for third-country citizens who spent more than 12 hours in the past two weeks in South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia, Kulhanek said on Twitter.

Germany  Declares South Africa virus variant area – Ministry
Germany will declare South Africa a virus variant area on Friday after the detection of a new Covid-19 variant there, a health ministry source said. The decision, which will come into effect from Friday night, will mean airlines will be allowed to fly only Germans to Germany from South Africa, according to the source. Returning Germans, even those who are vaccinated, will then have to spend 14 days in quarantine.
“This newly discovered variant worries us. That is why we are acting pro-actively and early here,” Health Minister Jens Spahn said.
“The last thing we need now is a new variant being introduced that causes even more problems.”The variant – called B.1.1.529 – has a “very unusual constellation” of mutations, which are concerning because they could help it evade the body’s immune response and make it more transmissible, South African scientists say.



About Author

Share This