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‘Red List’ quarantine returns and flights banned from six Southern African countries

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The Government has moved quickly tonight in response to the discovery of a new coronavirus variant in South Africa.

It is thought that this variant may be able to bypass existing covid vaccines due to the number and type of mutations identified, as well as transmitting more easily than the Delta version.

Flights from six countries in Southern Africa will be banned from noon on Friday.


These countries are:

  • South Africa
  • Namibia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Botswana
  • Lesotho
  • Eswatini

In addition, ‘Red List’ hotel quarantine will be reintroduced for anyone arriving in the UK who has been in any of the countries above in the previous 10 days.

Travellers who have arrived from these countries in recent days will also be contacted for testing. has not yet been updated to reflect these changes.

More details can be found on the BBC website here.

Comments (60)

  • Doug says:

    I had my South Africa trip booked for May, hope that things change by then

    • Amy C says:

      Ditto. I am not holding my breath.

    • Amy C says:

      This all seemed to happen so quickly. Don’t know if I can stand the stress of going, if it’s possible, then finding myself having to get to an airport with 12 hours notice to avoid quarantine from middle of no where 😔

    • Jonathan says:

      Wouldn’t bank on it. They were talking about 90% of the cases in Gauteng.

      Once community transmission is occurring freely then the genie is well & truly out of the bottle. Who knows where this leads, potentially a short sharp burst of increased morbidity/mortality, along the lines of SARS/MERS, which then burns itself out or further increased transmissibility but remaining low in the virulence stakes. Natural selection will generally favour the latter.

      Definitely the right call to take no chances though.

      • Jonathan says:

        My first paragraph has been mangled for some reason but I was saying how it’s gone from 5 known cases on Wednesday to now being 90% of cases in Gauteng based on rapid sequencing results.

    • Tim says:

      I suspect that thingay be ok by May. Or rather the varient will have established itself here by then making quarantine pointless. This is about delaying not preventing the introduction of a new varient to push it beyond the winter and give us time to acquire updated vaccines.

  • Daniel says:

    And here we go again…

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Scariant part 15

      • Daniel says:

        I am ready for my 7th jab because I am gullible.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          The more you have the less likely you are to catch and spread it

          Though you’ll probably still catch it and if you do you’ll deffo spread it

      • Tim says:

        This one is more scary Than previous varients. But the real scary thing is that it was probably only found because SA does a lot of sequencing. They have expertise in that as a legacy of the HIV epidemic I believe.

        • yorkieflyer says:

          indeed, South Africa is one of the few countries testing for variants to a degree, how many more variants are out there not detected that burn themselves out. Altogether very bad news for the winter long haul holiday market

  • Aston100 says:

    I was hoping to go there Xmas 2022.
    Hopefully just a temporary measure.

  • BuildBackBetter says:

    Didn’t know there was a country called Eswatini.

  • Aston100 says:

    What’s the situation with vaccine roll out in South Africa? Too lazy to Google it

    • TPGreen says:

      25ish % of the total population but 66%ish of the older populations. Remember they have a similar sized but much younger population than the UK.

  • Bill says:

    I know a family of 2 adults and 2 children that have flights booked for Christmas this year…..

  • J says:

    I expect this and other variants exist elsewhere anyway, it’s just that South Africa have done a better job of detecting and reporting on it. I believe like the UK they do a lot more sequencing.

  • Harry Holden says:

    The UK government are trying to make up for closing down too late following the discovery of previous variants (India trade deal anyone) by being really punctual this time. Here’s hoping it is a precautious over reaction.

    • Lady London says:

      If it’s summer in South Africa now then this new nasty variant is really going to take off when it reaches loverly cold Europe + UK.

      I feel sorry for all the airlines who will now be holding their breath to see how far this one gets.

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