On Friday, as the new COVID-19 variant has been detected in South Africa, Germany, Italy alongwith the UK have banned almost all travel through or from South Africa. The decision has been undertaken by the government to prevent the spread of the new variant which is said to have a high number of mutations.

Amid the rising COVID-19 cases in South Africa with the new variant, European Union separately proposed prohibiting travel from southern Africa. Taking to Twitter, EU chief Ursula Von der Leyen said that the EU in close coordination with member states will suggest activating the ’emergency brake’ to stop air travel from the southern African region due to the variant of concern, B.1.1.529. However, the decision of the EU has been highly criticized by South Africa.

The travel restrictions in Germany are said to begin tonight. German Minister of Health Jens Spahn said that travelers need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival even if vaccinated. “The last thing we need now is an introduced new variant that causes even more problems,” Spahn said. Following the steps, Rome also banned the entry of those who have been in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, or Eswatini in the past fortnight.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases with the variant B.1.1.529 have been identified in Israel. The Health Ministry said it was detected in a person who returned from Malawi. In addition, the variant has been found in two more people, who returned from abroad.

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