EU recommends member states suspend all flights from countries where new variant detected

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  • Ursula von der Leyen
    German politician, president of the European Commission

Air travel to Europe should be suspended from all countries where the new COVID variant has been detected, the European Commission president said.

Ursula von der Leyen also said vaccine producers are obliged under their contracts to adapt their jabs as soon as a new variant emerges.

She called for the new travel measures after the first European case of the variant first detected in South Africa was identified in Belgium.

"All air travel to these countries should be suspended until we have a clearer understanding about the danger posed by this new variant," she said.

Since midday on Friday, flights from six southern African nations - South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe - have been suspended until 4pm on Sunday.

After that, new arrivals of UK and Irish residents into the UK from those countries will be required to quarantine in hotels after they were placed on the red list on Thursday night.

Non UK and Ireland residents will not be allowed in from those countries.

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