Flights from South Africa to be stopped tomorrow amid new covid strain - 'Urgent update'

TRAVELLERS who have come from South Africa to the UK on the past fortnight and their contacts have been told they must quarantine immediately following the discovery of another more transmissible and more “concerning” new covid strain.

Flights from South Africa to be stopped tomorrow amid new covid strain - 'Urgent update'


Flights From South Africa To Be Stopped Tomorrow Amid New Covid Strain – ‘Urgent Update’.

During today’s No 10 covid briefing Health Secretary Matt Hancock said all travellers from South Africa in the past two weeks must isolate with immediate effect. Mr Hancock said the discovery of yet another coronavirus strain is “highly concerning”.

Anyone who has been in South Africa within the last two weeks should quarantine along with any close contacts of individuals who have visited the country.

He said: “This virus is yet more transmissible and appears to have mutated further than the new virus.”

Mr Hancock added that the government is “grateful” to the South African government “for their science”.

The Health Secretary also said there have been two cases of the new strain detected so far in the UK.

South Africa: “This virus is yet more transmissible and appears to have mutated further” 

He continued: “Both are contacts of cases who have travelled from South Africa over the past few weeks.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Twitter this evening that flights from South Africa to the UK have also been halted.

He said on Twitter: “URGENT UPDATE: I’ve taken the decision to temporarily stop flights and arrivals entering England from SOUTH AFRICA from 9am tomorrow following an outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus.

“British & Irish Nationals, visa holders and permanent residents arriving from South Africa will be able to enter but are required to self-isolate for ten days along with their household.

“Visitors from South Africa will not be permitted to enter, to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Both the cases and their close contacts have been put in quarantine.

The new measures on South African travel are temporary while further investigations take place.

The news has been met with concern by social media users who are calling for the UK’s borders to close to the country.

One user said: “Yet another new variant, this time from South Africa is scary stuff.

“The second strain of covid is apparently from South Africa and we’ve allowed flights to still come into England.”

Another said of the news: “Covid from South Africa why not block all flights from there, no one will isolate properly!

“This is where you went wrong last time.”

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel to the whole of South Africa based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.

The FCDO website states that most new cases of coronavirus in the country are caused by the new variant of COVID-19.

The South African authorities have also said the new variant could be more contagious.

Those arriving in South Africa have to produce a paper copy of a negative coronavirus test to border officials.

The website added: “The test must have taken place no more than 72 hours before your departure.

“It should be conducted by a certified medical practitioner, and should have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test.

“We advise that you carry several paper copies of your test, as you may need to present it more than once on your journey.

“If you do not have a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, you may have to quarantine in a government-appointed quarantine facility, at your own cost.”

Originally published at Express