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Corona variant from South Africa: Germany reacts with new travel rules - Lufthansa wants to continue flying


A new coronavirus variant discovered for the first time in South Africa is of international concern. Germany also drastically restricts air traffic.

A new coronavirus variant discovered for the first time in South Africa is of international concern.

Germany also drastically restricts air traffic.

  • A new coronavirus variant with an unusually high number of mutations is spreading in South Africa.

  • The coronavirus variant with the designation B.1.1.529 is causing unrest worldwide.

  • Germany restricts air traffic to and from South Africa.

Update from November 26th, 11:13 am

: The WHO is already investigating whether the new coronavirus variant B.1.1.529 must be classified as worrying.

WHO expert Maria van Kerkhove said in a briefing.

It will also be examined to what extent the variant has consequences for diagnostics, therapies and vaccination campaigns.

The WHO currently lists four Variants of Concerns - VOC for short: Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta.

Two Corona variants of interest - VOI for short - are currently under observation: Lambda and Mu (alternatively My).

It is quite certain that the WHO will assign a letter from the Greek alphabet to the new variant - it would probably be "Ny".

According to the definition of the WHO, "worrying variants" are more easily transferable or lead to more severe courses of the respiratory disease Covid-19.

They can also reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, drugs, virus tests or corona measures.

Expert: Vaccinations "almost certainly" less effective against B.1.1.529

Names are one thing - but one question seems to be much more important at the moment: Do the vaccines work against the new variant B.1.1.529?

British experts are "almost certain" that the currently available corona vaccines are less effective against the new variant discovered in South Africa.

That is what James Naismith, professor of structural biology at Oxford University, said on the BBC 4 Today radio show on Friday.

Whether the variant is also easier to transfer cannot yet be said with any certainty based on the available data.

"We suspect so, and there is some early data," Naismith continued.

If easier transferability is confirmed, it is inevitable that the variant will also reach Great Britain, the expert continues. 

Netherlands imposes landing ban for flights from southern Africa

Update from November 25, 11:07 a.m.:

Another EU country is reacting to the new virus variant.

The Netherlands has now imposed a landing ban for flights from southern Africa.

This will apply from Friday, 12 noon, announced the government in The Hague, as reported by the dpa news agency.

In addition, South Africa and other affected countries in the region would be declared high-risk areas.

Passengers who are still traveling from the region would have to be tested after arriving at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and then put into quarantine. 

Corona variant: Lufthansa will initially continue to fly to South Africa

Update from November 25, 10:28 a.m

.: Lufthansa will initially continue to fly to South Africa.

"We are implementing the requirements and will continue to fly, also to bring people home and transport freight," said a Lufthansa spokesman on Friday morning when asked by the dpa.

Lufthansa is closely monitoring the situation and complying with all legal requirements and rules. 

South Africa is declared a virus variant area tonight

Update from November 25th, 10:20 am

: "The last thing we are missing now is a new variant that has been brought in, which causes even more problems," said Health Minister Jens Spahn about the new coronavirus variant in South Africa at the press conference in Berlin.

Spahn asks travelers to act responsibly.

People who entered from South Africa today or three days ago should also take a PCR test.

He points out that the 14-day quarantine obligation for travelers will not legally come into force until

tonight (see update from 8:59 a.m.)


Italy restricts entry due to Corona variant B.1.1.529

Update from November 25, 10:07 a.m

.: Italy's Minister of Health Roberto Speranza has restricted entry from several South African countries due to the coronavirus variant B.1.1.529 by order.

His ministry announced on Friday that anyone who has been in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini in the past 14 days cannot enter Italy.

Italian scientists worked to study the variant.

In the meantime, according to Speranza, "maximum caution" applies. 

Corona variant B.1.1.529: Austria imposes an entry freeze

Update from November 25, 9:51 a.m.:

Austria is also imposing an entry ban because of the new Corona variant. The countries of South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini are classified as virus variant areas, the Ministry of Health said on Friday, as the ORF reported. The entry regulations will be adapted accordingly. Only Austrian citizens are allowed to return to their homeland. Particularly strict quarantine rules apply to them - such as a ten-day quarantine, PCR test upon entry and registration.

Update from November 25, 9:36 a.m

.: Due to the spread of a new, possibly more dangerous coronavirus variant, the EU Commission wants to limit travel from southern Africa to the EU to an absolute minimum.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Twitter that the Brussels authority will propose to the EU states that they trigger the emergency brake provided for this in order to suspend air traffic. 

New Corona variant from South Africa: Germany is now also massively restricting travel

Update from November 25, 8:59 a.m

.: The federal government is now restricting air traffic from South Africa because of the new Corona variant B.1.1.529. “As a result, airlines are only allowed to carry German citizens to Germany.” In addition, all those who have entered would have to be in quarantine for 14 days - even if they are fully vaccinated. The decision is not a surprise. The executive minister of the Chancellery, Helge Braun, had previously expected a swift decision to suspend air traffic.

Germany will declare South Africa a virus variant area because of the newly emerging coronavirus variant B.1.1.529.

The regulation will come into force tonight (Friday), airlines will then only be allowed to transport German citizens to Germany, said Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) on Friday morning.

If necessary, neighboring countries in South Africa are also affected.

Corona mutation from South Africa causes unrest - First Nations are significantly restricting travel

First report from November 25, 2021:

Berlin - While the corona pandemic and the delta mutation are currently causing increasing numbers in many parts of Europe and also in Germany, the discovery of a new corona variant in South Africa is causing international unrest.

In view of the current developments on Thursday, two countries announced a temporary suspension of travel to six African countries.

Initial findings have shown that vaccines may be less effective against the new corona mutation.

New corona mutation is causing international unrest - the first countries are restricting travel to six countries

The WHO announced on Thursday that it would "closely" observe the variant. It should then be decided on Friday whether B.1.1.529 is classified as a variant "of interest" or as "worrying". "Early analyzes show that this variant has a high number of mutations that will require further studies," said the WHO. South African scientists had previously announced that the new variant with the scientific name B.1.1.529 was "cause for concern". In the meantime, the variant has also been detected in Botswana and Hong Kong among travelers from South Africa.

South Africa's Minister of Health, Joe Phaahla, described the variant as "seriously worrying" and as the cause of an "exponential" increase in reported cases in his country.

The effectiveness of the vaccine against this virus variant is therefore still unclear.

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said there was evidence that the variant "may be more transmissible than the Delta variant and that vaccines (...) may be less effective".

So far, the variant has not been proven in Great Britain, he added.

British scientists, however, have expressed "very worried" about the development.


New Corona variant B.1.1.529: Germany drastically restricts air traffic with South Africa (here an archive photo from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg).

© Yeshiel / imago

Corona mutation discovered in South Africa - British government reacts immediately

The British government announced on Thursday evening a temporary suspension of travel to six African countries. Health Minister Sajid Javid said that all flights to Great Britain from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana would be canceled from Friday noon. And Israel also imposed immediate travel restrictions on several African countries on Thursday. South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe,

Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini have been classified as "red countries" after a special consultation, said the office of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

The executive head of the Chancellery, Helge Braun, anticipates that air traffic from Germany to southern Africa will have to be interrupted "shortly" due to a new Corona variant.

"The scientists are all very alarmed," said Braun on Friday morning in the ARD morning magazine.

The number of new corona infections reported daily in South Africa has recently risen dramatically.

On Wednesday, the authorities reported 1,200 new infections within 24 hours.

At the beginning of November this value was still 106 cases.

In South Africa, 35 percent of adults are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

The beta variant of the virus was discovered in South Africa last year.

With around 2.95 million corona cases and more than 89,600 deaths, South Africa is the hardest hit country in Africa according to official figures.

The fourth corona wave is sweeping inexorably across Europe.

The number of infections is skyrocketing not only in Germany, there are also terrifying reports elsewhere.

List of rubric lists: © Yeshiel / imago

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2021-11-26

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