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More countries impose travel ban on South Africa

Andile Sicetsha - 21.12.2020

Flights from South Africa have been banned in Germany, France and these other countries.

There is a growing sense of uncertainty around South Africa as a new strain of Covid-19 has threatened the country’s access to international travel.

Germany joins countries imposing travel ban on South Africa

As reported by IOL, Germany is the latest country to announce that it will be closing its doors to South African travellers, following similar statements from El Salvador, Israel, France and Turkey.

More countries are expected to take up this new attitude towards South Africa as the country continues in its struggle to contain the spread of Covid-19.

What is this new Covid-19 strain that’s spreading in South Africa?

Even more alarming is a new strain of the virus that is spreading exponentially. SARS-CoV-2, or 501.v2, is the first known mutated Covid-19 in South Africa and it is spreading faster than its previous form.

What’s worse, this new strain has adverse effects on the young population. Dr Zweli Mkhize, our minister of health, recently warned that young patients with no comorbidities can still fall critically ill when infected with this strain of the virus.

“Clinicians have been providing anecdotal evidence of a shift in the clinical epidemiological picture – in particular noting that they are seeing a larger proportion of younger patients with no comorbidities presenting with critical illness,” he said.

Much is yet to be discovered about this newly mutated virus. The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) has noted, with concern, that there are still many unanswered questions about the strain’s behaviour and our body’s response to it.

There is also a lot of uncertainty on whether, in time, South Africa will start to see a dramatic increase in casualties.

“At this stage, there is no clear evidence of the new variant being associated with more severe disease or worse outcomes but clinicians are undertaking more studies to establish if this new variant does change the course of the disease,” the NICD wrote.

South Africa’s government has acknowledged the travel ban imposed by the countries listed above. Engagements are ongoing between the country and members of the European Union to establish a way forward, a government spokesperson confirmed.