Britain said it would ban travel from six southern African countries, after South Africa detected a new COVID-19 variant with a large number of mutations.
“The early indication we have of this variant is it may be more transmissible than the Delta variant and the vaccines that we currently have may be less effective against it,” Health Secretary Sajid Javid said.
Javid said the new variant, which South Africa attributed to a surge in cases and had also been detected in travellers from the country in Botswana and Hong Kong, had not been found so far in Britain.
Travel restrictions will be imposed from Friday.
Travelllers from South Africa will need to quarantine upon arrival in the UK.