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Europe considers a flight ban on southern Africa over new coronavirus variant rapidly spreading there

FILE PHOTO: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen meets with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (not pictured), in Brussels, Belgium January 12, 2020.  REUTERS/Johanna Geron
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

  • A new coronavirus variant — B.1.1.529 — is rapidly spreading in southern Africa.
  • It’s prompting the European Commission to consider a flight ban from the region.
  • The UK restricted travel to and from six southern African countries on Thursday.

The European Union is considering an “emergency brake” flight ban on southern African countries, citing a new coronavirus variant rapidly spreading there.

“The EU Commission will propose, in close coordination with Member States, to activate the emergency brake to stop air travel from the southern African region due to the variant of concern B.1.1.529,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote Friday morning.

Von der Leyen did not say what countries a European flight ban might target.

The coronavirus variant was initially identified in Botswana, and appears to be responsible for an uptick in coronavirus cases in South Africa.

The UK on Thursday added South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, and Zimbabwe to its “red list” of countries from which travel will be restricted.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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