By Canisius Mushibwe
Most countries in the European Union have followed the path taken by Britain to halt flights from South Africa and five other African countries due to the discovery of a new, highly transmissible coronavirus variant.
The European Union plans on suspending air travel from the southern African region amid rising concern of a new COVID-19 mutation.
The EU Commission, chief Ursula von der Leyen said in a tweet that they will propose, in close co-ordination with member states to ensure flights are suspended.
“This is in order to activate the emergency brake to stop air travel from the southern African region due to the variant of concern B.1.1.529,” she tweeted.
In an official statement the EU executive Commission stated that they will recommend all 27 member states to implement the measure.
Meanwhile, the British health secretary, Sajid Javid, said it is likely that recent variant could make the vaccines ineffective against it.
Direct flights from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Eswatini have since been suspended since Friday midday GMT till further notice.
The halting of flights has happened despite the UK not recording any cases of the mutant virus.
South African experts said the new variant spread rapidly among students in Pretoria.
However, It’s uncertain whether the rapid mutation is deadlier than previous ones.
World Health Organization experts are scheduled to meet South African officials this Friday.