The UK will temporarily ban flights from six African countries starting Friday as the UK Department of Health is investigating a new variant of the coronavirus.
State Health Minister Sajid Javid did not name the country in a tweet on Thursday. But he said six countries have been added to the country’s Red List and British travelers from those countries need to be quarantined on arrival.
“We need more data, but we are currently taking precautions,” he said.
Earlier Thursday, South African scientists identified a new variant of concern whose mutation proved to be a “major leap in evolution.” The variant is causing a surge in new infections there.
Many variants have emerged since the outbreak of the pandemic. One of the fundamental concerns about the new variant is whether it will prevent it from progressing to a pandemic or limit the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Just a few weeks ago, the UK announced that it would stop requiring travelers to quarantine at government-designated hotels and remove the last seven countries from the coronavirus risk “Red List.”
This change removes restrictions on passengers arriving from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
Since then, Javid said the government will continue to reserve many of the hotel’s rooms “on standby” in case the quarantine requirements need to be reinstated.