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UK Bans Passengers From Tanzania, DRC To Control Spread Of New Covid Variant

Air Tanzania [Photo/Courtesy]

Travellers from neighbouring country Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo have been banned from entering the United Kingdom (UK) over fears of the new coronavirus variant reported in South Africa.

But the ban, which took effect at 4am on Friday, January 22, 2021, will not apply to British and Irish nationals and those with residency rights returning to the country, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a tweet on Thursday night.

“We are continuing to monitor COVID-19 rates and new strains of the virus across the globe, this alongside the suspension of travel corridors and pre-departure testing will help protect our borders,” Shapps, who doubles up as Welwyn Hatfield Member of Parliament, added.

Passengers from South Africa and its neighbouring countries including Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mozambique and Angola are banned from visiting the country.

Read: UK Scientists Already Conducting Trials For COVID-19 Vaccines In Kenya

The restrictions also apply to the island nations of Mauritius and Seychelles.

The new directive comes after the UK’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warned vaccines currently being rolled out may be less effective against the South African variant.

Read Also: Tanzania Retaliates, Cancels Kenya Airways Flights

Reports indicate that the new variant — known as 501Y.V2 and thought to be about 50 per cent more infectious — is believed to be more transmissible than the UK one.

Whereas most countries in the East African region have continued to make details on Covid-19 situation public, Tanzania’s last update on the respiratory disease was in late April last year. Then, there were at least 509 infections and 21 fatalities.

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Written by Wycliffe Nyamasege


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