New Covid variant – live: Other nations consider South Africa travel ban over Botswana variant

UK adds six African countries to red list due to fears over new variant

A new variant of Covid-19 has emerged which descends from the B.1.1 lineage and is believed to have an “incredibly high” number of mutations, experts say.

South Africa’s health minister announced the discovery of this new variant on Thursday, that appears to be spreading rapidly in parts of the country. The first cases found were three in Botswana, followed by another six cases in South Africa, and one in Hong Kong involving a traveller returning from South Africa.

With fears that it is highly transmissible and effective at evading the body’s immune response, several countries are considering travel bans. The UK has added six African countries to its red list — South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe.

The health secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “As part of our close surveillance of variants across the world, we have become aware of the spread of a new potentially concerning variant.

“We are taking precautionary action to protect public health and the progress of our vaccine rollout at a critical moment as we enter winter, and we are monitoring the situation closely.”

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What we know so far about B.1.1529 variant?

A worrying new variant is driving a spike in infections in South Africa and triggering concerns of increased travel restrictions.

The variant, which descends from the B.1.1 lineage, has an “incredibly high” number of mutations, experts say, with fears that it is highly transmissible and effective at evading the body’s immune response.

B.1.1529 has 32 mutations located in its spike protein. These include E484A, K417N and N440K, which are associated with helping the virus to escape detection from antibodies.

Another mutation, N501Y, which is found in the spike protein, appears to increase the ability of the virus to gain entry to our cells, making it more transmissible.

Here’s everything we know about the B.1.1529 variant:

Stuti Mishra26 November 2021 04:31
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Good Morning

Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of everything related to the discovery of a new Covid variant.

Stuti Mishra26 November 2021 04:21


Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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