December 7, 2021

Beyond Going Long

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Coronavirus: For the new variant, the Czech Republic will ban entry to foreigners who have been in South Africa

Czech Health Minister Adam Wojciech has stated that the new form appears to be “very dangerous” according to the first analyzes.

From Saturday, third-country nationals who have been in the Republic of South Africa (South Africa), Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Mozambique or Zambia for more than 12 hours in the last 14 days will not be able to enter the Czech Republic. This was announced by the current Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Jakub Kolhanek on Twitter on Friday.

And so the Czech Republic followed the example of Italy, Germany and Britain, which responded in this way to reports of a new type of coronavirus with a large number of mutations that they discovered in South Africa. The new variant is still only known as B.1.1529.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced that the European Union will propose suspending air connections between South Africa and the entire eurozone.

Reports that scientists are studying the new variant of B.1.1.529 surfaced on Thursday, when an exponential increase in the number of infected people was recorded in South Africa. Meanwhile, this new type of coronavirus has been detected in Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel.

The ban on access to the Czech Republic applies only to the eight countries of South Africa. Citizens of the Czech Republic, the European Union and long-term residents of the Czech Republic will be able to return in accordance with strict epidemiological measures.

This system will be in effect until December 12th. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also recommended Czech citizens not to travel to these countries, Kolhanek said.

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The Czech Minister of Health, Adam Wojciech, said that according to the first analyzes, the new alternative appears “extremely dangerous” in terms of the speed of spread, and announced that his ministry will introduce concrete preventive measures today.

The new variant contains a large number of mutations – 32 – which, according to virologists, present a “serious problem” compared to two delta and three beta mutations. These genetic changes affect the basic characteristics of this virus.

Like other viruses, SARS-CoV-2 is constantly evolving, and many new variants – even those with worrisome characteristics – often eventually disappear. In the case of new variants, it is not immediately possible to distinguish whether they will lead to severe public health consequences, according to the Associated Press.