UK reactivates red list over new variant


Flights from six countries will be suspended from midday today.


The United Kingdom has reactivated its red list overnight following warnings about a new Covid variant.


From this weekend, travellers arriving into Britain from several southern African countries will have to enter hotel quarantine, as per red list regulations.


Six countries in total will be added to the list, which also means direct flights from these places will be banned from landing in Britain.


The countries affected are South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.


The new variant, known as B.1.1.529, has been described by scientists as the worst yet, as it appears to have the potential to evade immunity generated by prior infection and vaccination and may be more transmissible.


Britain’s health secretary, Sajid Javid, said flights from the six countries would be suspended from midday today (November 26) and from 4pm on Sunday new arrivals must quarantine in designated hotels.


So far just 59 cases have been confirmed globally, 53 in South Africa, three in Botswana and one in Hong Kong.


World Health Organisation officials will meet with South African officials to assess the situation today. If it is upgraded to a ‘variant of concern’ it is likely to be renamed with a letter of the Greek alphabet, possibly Nu, the 13th letter.


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