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EU moves to halt air travel from places with new COVID variant

CoronavirusNov 26, 2021 13:01
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© Reuters. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen addresses EU parliament on the conclusions of the October leaders' summit in Strasbourg, France, November 23, 2021. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/Pool

By Sabine Siebold and Marine Strauss

(Reuters) - The European Union might halt air travel from places where a new coronavirus variant detected in South Africa had spread, the bloc's executive said ahead of a meeting later on Friday of the 27 member states' envoys to decide the matter.

Global authorities reacted with alarm on Friday to the new variant, with the EU and Britain among those tightening border controls as scientists sought to find out if the mutation was vaccine-resistant.

"The Commission will propose, in close coordination with Member States, to activate the emergency brake to stop air travel from the southern African region due to the variant of concern B.1.1.529," said the executive's head, Ursula von der Leyen.

A spokesman for the Brussels-based European Commission added that such a ban might be extended to other places where the variant has already been detected. These include Hong Kong and Israel.

"We need to act very fast, we need to be vigilant and we need to take all measures that are appropriate at this stage to prevent this virus from entering in Europe," said the spokesman.

"It's good that the member states are acting rapidly ... We want to have fast and coordinated and consistent measures in place because we want to avoid that there are loopholes through which the variant finds its way to Europe."

Britain banned flights from southern African countries after scientists said the new variant had a "very unusual constellation" of mutations, which were concerning because they could evade immune response and be more transmissible.

First identified this week, the new variant spooked financial markets and stocks as it is seen as a risk to global economic recovery from two years of the pandemic.

EU moves to halt air travel from places with new COVID variant
 

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Comments (2)
Wassai Arghushi
Wassai Arghushi Nov 27, 2021 23:59
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And we will enjoy a nice sell off on every fu***g stock
Michael Yeomans
Michael Yeomans Nov 26, 2021 12:52
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The world cant keep stopping at every variant . Get the perspective right. Old peope will die anyway
Vincenzo Dellboy
Vincenzo Dellboy Nov 26, 2021 12:52
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& so will young people if they don’t get their act together
 
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