Authorities in several countries on Friday announced bans on entry from southern Africa after a new strain of the coronavirus B.1.1.529 was identified in South Africa, European media reported.
Thus, Prague has banned entry for anyone who has spent more than 12 hours in countries in southern Africa in the past two weeks, according to a message posted Friday on Twitter by Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek.
"As of Saturday (Nov. 27), there will be a ban on entry into the Czech Republic for citizens who have spent more than 12 hours in South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini (Swaziland), Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia in the last 14 days," Kulganek said.
"For Czech citizens, EU citizens and persons with residence permits in the Czech Republic, entry from the aforementioned African countries is possible only under strict epidemiological conditions. We also strongly advise Czech citizens not to travel to these areas now. This measure is valid until December 12," noted in the message.
Italy, for its part, also imposed restrictions on entry.
"I have signed a decree banning entry into Italy for anyone who has visited South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini (Swaziland) in the last 14 days," Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza tweeted Friday.
"Our scientists are working on variant B.1.1.529," he noted.
French Health Ministry chief Olivier Veran said air travel to some countries in southern Africa has been halted for two days due to the spread of a dangerous new strain of coronavirus, France 24 television reported.
Head of the German Ministry of Health Jens Spahn has announced that Germany will tighten its rules of entry from South Africa starting from Saturday because of the spread of a dangerous variant of coronavirus there. According to him, the new variant of the virus B.1.1.529 is dangerous and preventive measures should be taken in the country.
Earlier the BBC reported that travelers arriving from South Africa to England will have to go into quarantine. In addition, all flights from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini (Swaziland) have been suspended. Sajid Javid, head of the British Ministry of Health, noted that these countries will be put on the red list of countries for travel on Friday.
Japanese Cabinet Secretary General Hirokazu Matsuno said those returning from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini (Swaziland), Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia must serve a 10-day quarantine in places designated by Japanese authorities, Japanese media reported.
Variant B.1.1.529 has been found in South Africa, Botswana, Israel and in a tourist who came to Hong Kong from South Africa. The new variant has a large number of mutations - 32. According to virologists, the high number of mutations of the virus is "a serious problem.