British tourists leave South Africa after new COVID-19 variant found
VIDEO SHOWS: TRAVELERS AT JOHANNESBURG’S OLIVER TAMBO AIRPORT, INTERVIEWS WITH DISAPPOINTED TOURISTS, COVID-19 SCREENING AT AIRPORT
STORY: Several UK tourists have expressed their disappointment and alarm after having to cut their vacations short after the detection of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa.
The EU, Britain and India are among those announcing stricter border controls as scientists sought to determine if the mutation was vaccine-resistant.
Britain banned flights from South Africa and neighboring countries and asked British travellers returning from there to quarantine, while the European Commission the EU also aimed to halt air travel from the region.
Scientists are still learning about the variant, identified this week, but the news pummeled global and oil amid fears what new travel bans would do to already shaky economies across southern Africa.
One epidemiologist said it may be too late to tighten travel curbs.
The variant, called B.1.1.529, has also been found in Botswana and Hong Kong, according to the UK Health Security Agency. Israel said it was barring its citizens from traveling to southern Africa after one case of the new strain was found in a traveler returning from Malawi.
The coronavirus has swept the world in the two years since it was first identified in central China, infecting almost 260 million people and killing 5.4 million.