South Africa claims British travel ban is “hasty” despite “worst Covid tribe ever” spreading among young and unvaccinated people

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SOUTH AFRICA has criticized Britain’s travel ban as “hasty” despite the fact that a new, more contagious Covid variant is spreading rapidly among young and unvaccinated people.

Senior Minister Naledi Pandor called on the British government to reconsider the ban imposed on Friday.

South Africa has registered 53 cases of the new one


South Africa has registered 53 cases of the new “horror” Covid variantCredit: Reuters
The High South African Minister Naledi Pandor stamped Britain's ban as


High-ranking South African Minister Naledi Pandor described Britain’s ban as “hasty”Credit: Getty

Pandor, which runs the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, said: “Our immediate concern is the damage that this decision will cause to both the tourism industries and companies in both countries.”

She suggested that Britain had overreacted because the WHO had not yet issued advice on the new one B.1.1.529 strain.

On Friday, Britain’s Health Minister Sajid Javid temporarily banned South Africans from entering the UK, tweeting: “COVID-19 UPDATE: UKSHA is investigating a new variant. More data is needed but we are taking precautionary measures now.

“From 12.00 tomorrow, six African countries will be added to the red list, flights will be temporarily banned and British travelers will have to be quarantined.”


It comes when South Africa reported 53 cases related to the new tribe, reported to be “better at infecting vaccinated people”.

The variant has not yet reached the UK.

South Africa has seen a jump in Covid cases in recent days, where the infection of the variant – called Botswana – has tripled since it was first found.

The country’s health authorities had reported about 200 confirmed cases a day until Wednesday when infections rose rapidly above 1,200 and almost doubled again to 2,465 on Thursday, according to Sky News.

In Gauteng, South Africa’s most populous region, estimates suggest that 90 percent of new infections may be B.1.1.529, according to the survey.

B.1.1.529 is the most developed strain to date with 32 mutations, and could be worse than Delta, experts have warned.

Professor Tulio de Oliveir, head of Covid surveillance in a South African province, warned that it could be in almost any part of the country.

He said variants may be better at infecting vaccinated humans than Delta, the current global dominant strain, because it has five times more mutations on a specific part to which antibodies bind.

The expert added that it had a “very unusual constellation of mutations” and was a “cause for concern”.

South African Health Minister Joe Phaahla described the panic attack as “a major threat”.

Prof Francois Balloux, Professor of Computational Systems Biology and Director, UCL Genetics Institute, UCL, said: “I would definitely expect it to be poorly recognized by neutralizing antibodies relative to Alpha or Delta.

“It is difficult to predict how transferable it can be at this stage.

“At the moment, it should be closely monitored and analyzed, but there is no reason to worry too much, unless it starts to increase in frequency in the near future.”

However, some experts have suggested that several mutations may actually work against the virus and make it unstable.

It appears to be an offshoot of an older variant called B.1.1 and has been found in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong.

The infection in Hong Kong came from a person who traveled from South Africa – which raised fears that it could be taken elsewhere.

Only 41 percent of South African adults have been vaccinated with the number of shots given per day at a relatively low 130,000.

Estimates suggest that 90 percent of new infections in a region may be B.1.1.529


Estimates suggest that 90 percent of new infections in a region may be B.1.1.529Credit: AP
Only 41 percent of South African adults have been vaccinated against Covid


Only 41 percent of South African adults have been vaccinated against CovidCredit: Reuters
South Africa among six countries will be added to the red travel list in a desperate attempt to stop the “worst ever” Covid variant

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