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The UK’s Health Secretary told the country’s parliament on Friday, November 26, that a new COVID-19 variant was “of huge international concern” and that it was “highly likely” that it has spread to countries beyond where it has been detected.
“The variant has a large number of mutations,” Sajid Javid told the House of Commons.
“Early indications show that this [B.1.1.529] variant may be more transmissible than the Delta variant and current vaccines may be less affective against it,” he added.
By noon on November 26, six countries in southern Africa were added to the UK’s red list, meaning flights were temporarily banned, and travellers returning from those countries must quarantine.
The World Health Organization said it has yet to determine if the B.1.1.529 variant should be designated a variant of “interest” or of “concern.” Credit: Parliament TV via Storyful