USA

Scientists alarmed over new ‘worst-ever’ COVID variant that could make vaccines 40% less effective


Scientists sound alarm over new ‘worst-ever’ super-mutant COVID variant that could make vaccines at least 40 per cent less effective as the UK and Israel ban travel from South Africa and five other African Countries but passengers continue to stream into the US

  • Britain’s Health Secretary on Thursday announced that flights from six Southern African countries will be stopped amid concern at a new COVID variant
  • From midday on Friday flights from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe will be suspended
  • Israel on Thursday followed suit, with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett adding the six plus Mozambique to the list of ‘red’ countries, essentially barring Israelis from traveling to and from the seven nations
  • The move is in response to a variant, B.1.1.529, which has a ‘very unusual constellation’ of mutations
  • The new variant, known as the Botswana variant and likely to be officially named Nu, is worrying scientists because it is believe it might evade the body’s immune response and be more transmissible
  • There are no direct flights to the US from any of the seven countries except South Africa, from where there are 13 flights a week 










Thousands of people are landing in the United States from South Africa every week, despite a new COVID-19 variant sparking such concern that Britain and Israel on Thursday effectively halted travel from the region.

The variant is predominately found in Botswana – from where there are no direct flights to the U.S. – and also in neighboring South Africa.

United Airlines currently fly direct from Johannesburg to New York City seven days a week, with the 16-hour flight leaving at 10pm and arriving at 7am in Newark.

United also fly direct to New York City from Cape Town three times a week, on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

United flies Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, which can hold 290 people.

Delta fly direct from Johannesburg to Atlanta on Saturday, Monday, and Thursday.

They use Airbus A350-900, which can seat between 300 and 350 people.

On Thursday Britain’s health secretary, Sajid Javid sounded the alarm over what he termed the ‘worst-ever’ super-mutant COVID variant.

A baby cries as her mother receives her Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19, in Diepsloot Township near Johannesburg, South Africa on October 21

He said it could make vaccines at least 40 per cent less effective, and as a result he said they had banned flights from South Africa and five other regional countries.

Experts explained earlier how the B.1.1.529 variant has more than 30 mutations – the most ever recorded in a variant and twice as many as Delta – that suggest it could be more jab-resistant and transmissible than any version before it.

The variant – which could be named ‘Nu’ by the World Health Organization in the coming days – has caused an ‘exponential’ rise in infections in South Africa and has already spread to three countries – including Hong Kong and Botswana, where it is believed to have emerged.

In response, Javid announced that flights from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe will be suspended from midday Friday and all six countries will be added to the red list.

No cases have been detected in the UK so far but everyone who has returned from South Africa in the past 10 days will be contacted and asked to take a test.

Advertisement



Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button