South Africa calls UK red list decision ‘rushed’


The South African government says the UK’s decision to place South Africa back on its Red List, is rushed.

The decision followed the detection of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa with a high number of mutations which has raised concerns among scientists and triggered travel restrictions by a number of countries amid fears of coronavirus transmissions.

UK Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, said South Africa and 5 of its neighbours will be on the list from Sunday.Until then all flights from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, and Eswatini are suspended. Travellers from these countries will have to be quarantined. Several countries in Europe and Asia have now also imposed restrictions.

The South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said 22 positive cases of the new variant have been recorded in the country following genomic sequencing. News of the announcement broke on Thursday.

The new COVID-19 variant, called B.1.1.529, has a very unusual constellation of mutations, which are worrying because they could help it evade the body’s immune response and make it more transmissible, scientists have said.

South African scientists have detected more than 30 mutations to the spike protein, the part of the virus that helps to create an entry point for the coronavirus to infect human cells.

Tulio de Oliveira, director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform, said the variant has baffled experts. “It has a big jump in evolution, many more mutations than we expected,” de Oliveira said.Some of the mutations look similar to mutations that have been found on other variants of concern that enhance those variants transmissibility

“The one piece of good news is that it can be detected by a PCR test”, de Oliveira added

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it is “closely monitoring” the reported variant and is expected to meet on Friday to determine if it should be designated a variant of “interest” or of “concern”.

South Africa loses approximately R26 million for everyday it spends on the UK’s red list according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. This latest travel ban has caused widespread disbelief and disappointment amongst the hospitality industry as the peak festive season approaches.


  1. When will you Africans learn that the whlte man doesn’t see you as a priority? They don’t want you there abroad so this is the easiest way to achieve it without them being accused of being racist. Meanwhile here we have f00Iish upnd diasporans who are languishing abroad. Soon these countries will start kicking you out. You will come back home here with nothing not even a roof over your head. Wake up f00Iish black Man

  2. How come Zambia not on the red list,?
    Is it because Bally had a discussion with
    Johnson at the summit?
    All our neighbours are on redlist.

  3. At least Zambia is not on the red list yet and the variant is not here yet but it will come thanks to the truck drivers from SA

  4. Zambia is not one of the closest neighbour of southafrica, but zimbabwe and botswana are.
    That is the only reason in fact southafrica has more relatives to UK than Zambia.
    So H H has no hand into it

  5. We should also guard our borders and put on place stringent measures before this new variant enters zambia. Otherwise another disaster for human life and the economy.

  6. It’s worrying how careless we have become. This variant can easily enter Zambia because it’s transit for South Africa trucks. People are gathering without social distancing, no masks, not washing their hands, no hand sanitizer. Churches are the biggest culprit.

  7. @Moto – do you really think HH being HH has any bearing on decisions Europeans make? You are so naive. Brace yourself for when the tide turns!

    #plant a tree now!

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