LIVE – New variant of Covid-19: a case detected in Israel

European Commission proposes to suspend flights from southern Africa

The European Commission has proposed to suspend flights from the southern African region due to the discovery of a new variant of Covid-19, its president Ursula von der Leyen announced on Friday.

“The European Commission will propose, in close coordination with Member States, to activate the emergency brake to interrupt air travel from the southern African region due to the B.1.1.529 variant,” tweeted Ms. von der Leyen.

She did not specify how many countries in southern Africa were concerned. The European executive is due to make a proposal to the representatives of the member states at a meeting scheduled for Friday. It will then be up to the Council (institution representing the Twenty-Seven) to adopt such a recommendation.

New variant: European stock markets dip at the opening

The European stock markets plunged this Friday at the opening of the session, caught up by the emergence of a new variant particularly contagious in South Africa.

The CAC 40 star index of the Paris Stock Exchange fell 4.02% to 6791.89 points around 08:16 GMT. London lost 2.93% and Frankfurt also traded more than 3% at the open.

Italy bans travelers from southern Africa

Italy prohibits the entry of its territory to any person having stayed in southern Africa “during the last 14 days”, announced this Friday the Minister of Health Roberto Speranza, invoking “the maximum precaution” vis-a-vis the new variant of the Covid.

The countries affected by this measure are South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini, he said.

New variant: a case detected in Israel

The Israeli Ministry of Health announced on Friday that it had detected a case of the new variant of Covid-19 discovered in South Africa and which has a potential for very rapid spread according to scientists.

“The variant discovered in southern African states has been identified in Israel. It is a person who returned from Malawi,” the ministry said, expressing fears “two more cases of people returning from abroad.” and placed in containment.

France is monitoring “very, very closely” the new variant which has appeared in South Africa

On RMC-BFMTV this Friday morning, government spokesman Gabriel Attal spoke about the appearance of B.1.1.529.

“We are in the process of compiling the information at our disposal” insists the minister, affirming that “there are links with the World Health Organization (WHO) as such”. “In the next few days, if not the next few hours, we will see a little more clearly and we will obviously make decisions if necessary,” insisted Gabriel Attal. “We are watching this very, very closely,” he added.

Germany to refuse foreign travelers from South Africa

Germany will deny entry to its territory to foreign travelers from South Africa due to the discovery of the new variant, outgoing German Health Minister Jens Spahn announced on Friday.

This rule, which will apply from this Friday evening, will concern South Africa and “probably the neighboring countries”, he added. Only German citizens will be allowed to re-enter, respecting a 14-day quarantine, even if they are vaccinated.

“The last thing we need now is the introduction of a new variant which is causing even more problems,” the minister explained.

New variant: UK to ban travelers from six African countries

The United Kingdom announced Thursday that it will ban entry to travelers from six African countries, after South Africa announced the discovery of a new variant of Covid-19 with multiple mutations.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said all flights from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana would be suspended as of noon Friday.

Concerns around a new variant detected in South Africa

It has not yet been named after the Greek alphabet. B.1.1.529, a new variant of Covid-19, has been detected in South Africa. Nothing surprising so far, variants of the coronavirus have been legion since the start of the health crisis.

Except that this B.1.1.529 could very well join the list of variants deemed “of interest” or even that of “worrying” established by the World Health Organization in the light of recently communicated data. Presented as potentially very contagious and with multiple mutations, it can constitute the beginnings of a very important epidemic resumption in the African country. A “major threat” of which the health authorities are concerned.

Update on what we know about this new variant:

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