UK halts flights to six African countries over new Covid variant

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come under intense attack for his government's inconsistent messaging COVID
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Britain is halting all flights from South Africa and five other countries in the region in response to the discovery of a highly transmissible new Covid variant.

From midday GMT on Friday, direct flights from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Eswatini will be suspended until further notice.

Announcing the restrictions, the British health secretary, Sajid Javid, said it was possible that current vaccines might be less effective against the heavily mutated variant.

No cases have been discovered in the UK.

South African experts say it had spread rapidly among students in Pretoria.

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It’s not clear whether the variant is more deadly than previous mutations.

Experts from the World Health Organization are due to meet South African officials on Friday.