Europe, Asia tighten borders in fear of new COVID variant

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Countries in Europe and Asia are rushing through new travel restrictions in response to a new COVID variant identified by scientists in South Africa.

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big picture: Israel, Japan, the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Singapore are moving to restrict entry from countries in South Africa, AP reports, Many are also adding quarantine for their own citizens upon return from the area.

  • UK ban goals “South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe,” To NY Times.
  • Japan has never reopened to foreign travelers, but will now require its own citizens to quarantine upon return from the region, the AP reports.

big picture: The new version is called B.1.1.1.529 until the World Health Organization names it a Greek letter.

  • It “potentially evolved” during chronic infection of an immune-compromised person, possibly in an untreated HIV/AIDS patient,” said UCL Genetics Institute director François Balloux, Nerdshala’ Noah Bresner reported Thursday.
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go in: Variant Tracker of Nerdshala

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