A new variant, Variant B.1.1.529, with a high number of mutations, has been causing chaos on world travel.
South Africa, where the variant was detected yesterday, is now back on the UK red list, almost two months after its removal.
Five other destinations, including Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia, were placed back on the red list. And with strict UK travel regulations, British Airways has announced flight cancellations from midday on Friday.
In a tweet, the airline posted: “We are aware of news from the government about a ban on UK flights to South Africa. We will be contacting affected customers and colleagues in #SouthAfrica and will update our website with the latest information,” it said.
Responding to a comment on the post, Head of Global PR & Social Media at British Airways Victoria Madden, said the airline will land every flight that they can before the deadline.
“Hi, we will land every flight we can. Flights are not scheduled to turn round. The deadline is 12pm on 26th November,” she said. All flights cancelled by British Airways would be “eligible for a full refund back to the original form of payment”, the airline revealed on Twitter.
We are aware of news from the Government about a ban on UK flights to South Africa. We will be contacting affected customers and colleagues in #SouthAfrica and will update our website with the latest information. https://t.co/J8JQjsBjJC— British Airways (@British_Airways) November 25, 2021
As countries scramble to find out more about this variant, many countries are expected to close borders to South Africa this weekend. Travel agency owner Jennifer Morris said the UK placing South Africa back on the red list had been a “devastating blow”.