All EU States Ban Travel From Southern Africa

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

(Worthy News) – All 27 member states of the European Union agreed Friday to suspend travel from seven southern African nations over the outbreak of a new coronavirus.

The measure, which includes banning flights from the region, comes as a committee of health experts “agreed on the need to activate the emergency” brake, the EU’s rotating presidency Slovenia said.

They “impose temporary restriction on all travel into EU from southern Africa,” Slovenia added on social networking site Twitter.

The countries affected reportedly include Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, according to diplomatic sources.

It took the often fractured, bureaucratic EU just hours to agree on the measures.

The EU’s executive European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said earlier Brussels would propose “activating the emergency brake to stop air travel from the southern African region.” She said this was coordinated with member states.

She added said the move would help “limit the spread” of the variant, recommending all air travel to affected countries be suspended. Returning travelers from the region should “respect strict quarantine rules,” Von der Leyen added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) was meeting to check if the B.1.1.529 variant warrants a designation as one of “interest” or of “concern.”

The variant was identified on Tuesday and stands out because it carries an “extremely high number” of mutations, officials say.

The new variant, known as B.1.1.529, already has a hold in South Africa, and cases have reportedly been found in Botswana and, via a traveller, in Hong Kong.

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