(CNN) – The discovery of a new type of coronavirus that was first detected in South Africa has led many countries to impose travel restrictions on at least six African countries.
Currently known as B.1.1.529, the newly identified variant appears to be spreading rapidly in parts of southern Africa and scientists are concerned that the unusually high number of mutations could make it more transmissible and lead to immune evasion.
These are the countries that have announced restrictions so far on the new format:
- United kingdom
While only dozens of cases of the new strain have been identified so far, it has been detected in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium.
The string of restrictions across countries began Thursday night when the UK announced it would temporarily suspend flights from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.
Japan has tightened border controls for travelers from the same six countries, imposing a 10-day quarantine starting at 12 a.m. on November 27.
EU countries Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Malta have announced an imminent entry ban for all travelers who have entered South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini in the past two weeks.
Singapore has opted to ban entry to all non-residents of Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, while citizens and permanent residents returning from any of these countries will be required to spend 10 days at home. Malaysia has also taken similar steps.
Meanwhile, Germany plans to declare South Africa a “viral shifting zone” from Friday night, meaning airlines will only be able to enter from the country to bring back German nationals.
The Philippines has suspended incoming flights with immediate effect from South Africa and six other countries over concerns about the new alternative, according to the presidential office. Travelers, including Filipino nationals, from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini and Mozambique are banned until December 15.
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