Cape Town – The European Union said on Friday it would propose to halt air travel to and from southern Africa as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of a new variant of Covid-19.
In a Twitter post, European Union president Ursula von der Leyen said the Commission would propose, in close coordination with member states, to activate the emergency brake to stop air travel from the African region where the B.1.1.529 has been reported.
On Friday, the United Kingdom announced that travellers arriving in England from several southern African countries would have to quarantine. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said from midday on Friday South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia would be added to the red list, with flights being temporarily banned.
According to BBC News Africa, one expert described the variant as "the worst one we've seen so far", adding that there was concern it had the potential to evade immunity.
On Thursday EU chief Von der Leyen said vaccination remained the single and most important way of curbing the Covid-19 virus and ultimately avoiding deaths, and called on countries to step up their immunisation drives.
She also encouraged people to take booster shots six months after the original vaccination, to keep up their immunity.
“We have enough doses. End of this week we will have delivered 1 billion doses to our member states,” Von der Leyen said.
African News Agency (ANA)