Hunt to find hundreds of passengers over ‘extremely worrying’ new Covid variant

Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed that South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia will be added to the red list for international travel (Pictures: Getty)

Health secretary Sajid Javid confirmed that South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia will be added to the red list for international travel (Pictures: Getty)

Hundreds of passengers who have arrived in the UK from certain countries are urged to come forward over fears of a ‘super-mutant’ Covid-19 strain spreading.

Sajid Javid confirmed last night that South Africa and its neighbouring countries Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia will be added to the red list for international travel.

This comes as dozens of cases of the ‘extremely worrying’ B.1.1.529 variant – which is feared to evade some of the immunity built up by vaccination or prior infection – were discovered in South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana.

The health secretary told the Commons this morning ‘it is highly likely that it has now spread to other countries’.

He went on: ‘We are concerned that this new variant may pose substantial risk to public health. The variant has an unusual large number of mutations.

‘Yesterday the UK Health Security Agency classified B.1.1.529 as a new variant under investigation and the very technical group has designated it as a variant under investigation with very high priority.’

Mr Javid added early indications show the current vaccines ‘may be less effective against it’.

Travellers arriving from the six countries between midday today and 4am Sunday – and those who have been there within the last 10 days – must now quarantine at home for 10 days and will also have to take PCR tests on day two and day eight.

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Travellers arriving from these six countries will now be asked to quarantine for 10 days (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

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Source:: Metro News

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