Germany to declare South Africa as Covid variant area

Berlin, Nov 27 (IANS): Germany has declared South Africa as a "virus variant area" and decided to ban all flights from South Africa after the detection there of a new Covid-19 variant dubbed B.1.1.529, acting Minister of Health Jens Spahn said.

From Friday night local time, airlines will only be allowed to fly German nationals and permanent residents from (South Africa), according to Spahn. In addition, all passengers, including fully vaccinated people, will have to quarantine for 14 days after entering Germany from South Africa.

He said on Twitter that travellers should now be even more cautious when entering the country. "The newly discovered variant B.1.1.529 worries us, so we act proactively and early here. The last thing we need now is an imported new variant causing even more problems."

Germany is currently hit by the country's fourth Covid-19 wave, with the number of daily infections as well as the seven-day incidence rate at record levels. On Thursday, the cumulative number of Covid-19-related deaths exceeded 100,000 since the start of the pandemic, Xinhua news agency reported.

The European Commission also wants to limit travel from southern African region to the EU and proposed to "activate the emergency brake to stop air travel from the southern African region due to the variant of concern B.1.1.529, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter.



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