Israel, UK Ban Travel From Several Countries in Southern Africa Amid Concerns Over the ‘Nu’ COVID-19 Variant

Israel and the United Kingdom have imposed on Nov. 25 travel restrictions from several countries in southern Africa due to concerns over a new COVID-19 variant.

Israel and the UK banned travel from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Eswatini as a precautionary measure against the Nu COVID-19 variant, also called B.1.1.529.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet instructed an immediate evaluation to suspend inbound and outbound flights after holding a consultation with health and defense officials.

Similarly, the UK government has temporarily banned direct flights, including commercial and private planes, from the six countries starting from Nov. 26 until the hotel quarantine system is up and running from Nov. 28.

From Nov. 26, non-British citizens who have been in the six countries in the last 10 days will be refused entry into England.

Meanwhile, British citizens arriving from these six countries between Nov. 26 to 28 will be required to self-quarantine for 10 days. Those who arrive from Nov. 28 will be required to quarantine in a government-approved facility for 10 days.

The UK government noted that no cases of the new variant have been identified in the UK, but it has been declared as a Variant under Investigation by the UK Health Security Agency.

“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,” UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said.

Around 59 cases of the new variant have been confirmed in South Africa, Botswana, and Hong Kong.

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