British authorities have implemented travel restrictions towards South Africa following the discovery of two cases of new “more transmissible” strain of the coronavirus.
Anyone who has been in South Africa or has been in “close contact” with anyone who has been in that country in the last two weeks must quarantine themselves “immediately,” said Health Minister Matt Hancock.
“This new variant is highly concerning, because it is yet more transmissible, and it appears to have mutated further than the new variant that has been discovered in the UK,” Hancock added.
The news of this new strain comes just days after the discovery of a previous new variant, which health authorities say is more contagious. While the two strains share a mutation – called N501Y – they have evolved separately, according to experts.
Belgium, which reopened to UK travellers under strict new rules today – has not made any adjustment to rules targeting the new strain. Belgium was one of the first countries to ban passenger travel from the UK, shutting down not only the Eurostar but also flights, at the weekend.