Australia investigates new COVID-19 variants found in South Africa

File Photo: Boys passing by Senzart 911 murals of children wearing face masks during an outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Kliptown, Soweto, South Africa, October 27, 2021. REUTERS / Siphiwe Sibeko

November 26, 2021

Sydney (Reuters) -Australia said on Friday that it is investigating a newly identified COVID-19 mutant spreading to South Africa, closing borders with travelers from African countries as the risk of new strains increases. Warned that there is a possibility of doing so.

South African scientists are concerned that the new variant has a “very rare constellation” mutation, which may evade the body’s immune response and increase its infectivity.

Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt said he would respond promptly if the World Health Organization (WHO) classified it as a major new variant.

“We are flexible, as always, and if the medical advice is that we need to change it, we don’t hesitate,” Hunt said in a Sydney reporter. Told to. “That’s what we did as a nation, whether we closed the borders or guaranteed that we had quarantine.”

The UK warned of this variant, temporarily banning flights from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Eswatini from Friday and demanding that British travelers from these destinations be returned to quarantine.

UK health officials said the new strain could reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine because it has a different peaplomer than that of the original coronavirus on which the vaccine is based.

WHO said it would take “weeks” to understand the impact of the new variant.

Australia first relaxed border restrictions during a pandemic earlier this month, allowing fully vaccinated residents to return to the country without quarantine after higher vaccination levels.

Australia had significantly eradicated the infection most of the year until the outbreak of the highly infectious Delta subspecies spread rapidly to the east in late June. To date, approximately 205,000 cases and 1,985 deaths have been recorded, less than many other developed countries.

(Report by Renju Jose, edited by Michael Perry)

Australia investigates new COVID-19 variants found in South Africa

Source link Australia investigates new COVID-19 variants found in South Africa

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