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Alarm over ‘worst ever’ Covid variant with 30 mutations which could slash vaccine effectiveness

TRAVELLERS recently arrived from South Africa will be asked to come forward for testing amid alarm over a new variant which scientists consider to be the worst of the pandemic to date. 

From 12 noon tomorrow, flights into the UK from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini will also be suspended, and anyone arriving from these countries from 4am on Sunday will have to quarantine in a hotel. 

The B.1.1.529 strain, which has yet to be formally named, is spreading rapidly in South Africa although Public Health England said it has not yet identified any cases in the UK. 

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said tonight that scientists are “deeply concerned” about the new variant. 

He said putting the six countries on the red list was about “being cautious and taking action and trying to protect, as best we can, our borders”.

The new strain has over 30 different spike mutations – twice as many as the Delta variant – which have produced…

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