A growing number of countries have enacted travel bans and restrictions on South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Botswana amidst concerns over the new COVID-29 strain detected and reported in South Africa last Thursday.
“Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs,” said a group of experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday.
“The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa.”
Although the organization warned world leaders against “knee-jerk reactions,” the large number of mutations this variant appears to have, is forcing governments to take immediate action.
So far, this is the list of countries imposing travel restrictions on Southern African nations:
The UK – Suspended all flights on Friday, returning citizens must undergo testing and quarantine.
The U.S. – bans entry from 8 African countries from November 29.
Germany – will allow repatriation flights only. All travelers will be subjected to a 14-day quarantine
Italy – banned all flights on Friday.
Japan – has not suspended flights but will strengthen border controls for all passengers.
Thailand – red-listed the eight African countries and barred all travel on Saturday.
Israel – suspended all flights on Friday.
Singapore – has barred all arrivals.
Malaysia – suspended all travel from southern African countries. Returning travelers must undergo testing and quarantine.
The Philippines – imposes a travel ban on southern African countries.
Oman, Kuwait, Egypt, UAE – ban all arrivals from 7 African countries. Travelers won’t be allowed to enter from November 29.
Canada – banned all flights. Returning Canadians must quarantine at a government-approved hotel.
Other countries that banned, temporarily stopped, or imposed a quarantine on travel from southern African countries are the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, Malta, Norway, Belgium, France, Slovakia, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Russia, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Korea.
So far, two cases have been identified in the UK, two in Germany, one in Belgium, one in Italy, one in Hong Kong, and some others in Israel.