The U.K. will temporarily ban flights from South Africa and five neighboring countries over worries about a new, dramatically different Covid-19 variant recently identified in the region.
The travel restrictions go into effect at noon Friday and are a precautionary measure to keep the spread of the new variant in check, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said. The six African countries will be placed on the U.K.’s red list as of Sunday, requiring travelers to quarantine in hotels upon arrival.
Scientists are still trying to determine whether the new variant, called B.1.1529, is more transmissible or more lethal than previous ones.
What’s clear is that it has the most mutations of any strain yet identified. That’s raised concerns inside South Africa and internationally, with authorities fearing a…