(CNN) – The discovery of a new coronavirus variant first detected in South Africa led several countries to impose travel restrictions on at least six African nations.
Currently known as B.1.1.529, the newly identified variant appears to be spreading rapidly in parts of South Africa and scientists are concerned that its unusually high number of mutations could make it more transmissible and result in immune evasion.
These are the countries that have announced restrictions so far for the new variant:
- United Kingdom
While only dozens of cases of the new strain have been identified so far, it has been detected in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium.
The cascade of restrictions across countries began Thursday night when the UK announced it would temporarily suspend flights from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.
Japan has tightened border controls for travelers from the same six countries, and imposed a 10-day quarantine starting at 12 a.m. on November 27.
EU countries Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Malta have announced imminent entry bans for all travelers who have entered South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini in the past two weeks.
Singapore has chosen to bar entry to all non-residents of Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, while nationals and permanent residents returning from any of these countries will be required to spend 10 days at home. Malaysia has also taken similar steps.
Meanwhile, Germany plans to declare South Africa a “virus variant area” starting Friday night, which will mean that airlines will only be able to enter from the country to repatriate German nationals.
The Philippines suspended incoming flights with immediate effect from South Africa and six other countries due to concerns about the new variant, according to the presidential office. Travelers, including Filipino nationals, from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini and Mozambique have been banned until December 15.