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UK suspends flight from 6 African countries over new COVID-19 variant

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The government of the United Kingdom (UK) has announced new precautionary travel restrictions for six African countries, including South Africa.

TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) reports this is coming as scientists say they have detected a new variant of COVID-19 in Botswana, which has spread to South Africa.

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The countries, which have also been placed on the UK’s travel red list, are South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

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A statement on the government website confirmed the UK Health Security Agency is investigating the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529.

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The statement reads: “No cases have been identified in the UK. We are taking these precautionary measures to protect public health and the progress we’ve made so far through our successful vaccination programme.

“From midday on Friday 26 November, non-UK and Irish residents who have been in these countries in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England. This does not apply to those who have stayed airside and only transited through any of these countries while changing flights.

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“UK and Irish residents arriving between midday Friday 26 November and 4am Sunday 28 November from these six countries will be required to self-isolate at home for 10 days. They must take PCR tests on Day 2 and Day 8 post-arrival. These can be NHS PCR tests and passengers should take them even if they have already booked or taken their lateral flow test.

“UK and Irish residents arriving from 4am Sunday must isolate in a government-approved facility for 10 days. During their stay, they will be required to take a coronavirus test on day 2 and day 8.

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“A temporary ban on commercial and private planes travelling from the six countries will also come into force at midday on Friday until 4am Sunday to reduce the risk of importing this new variant under investigation while hotel quarantine is stood up. This excludes cargo and freight without passengers”.

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