UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid has issued an alert about the new ‘worst-ever’ super-mutant Covid variant, which will render vaccines at least 40% less effective, forcing flights from South Africa and five other countries to be banned, Daily Mail reported.
“Our scientists are deeply concerned about this variant. I’m concerned, of course, that’s one of the reasons we have taken this action today,” the Health Secretary said.
“The early indication we have of this variant is it may be more transmissible than the Delta variant and the vaccines that we currently have may be less effective against it.”
Experts previously explained how the B.1.1.529 variant (left) has more than 30 mutations – the most ever recorded in a variant and twice as many as Delta – implying it may be more jab-resistant and transmissible than any version before it, according to the Daily Mail.
The variant, which the World Health Organization may name ‘Nu’ in the coming days, has caused a “exponential” rise in infections in South Africa and has already spread to three countries, including Hong Kong and Botswana, where it is thought to have emerged.
So far, no cases have been identified in the UK, but anyone who has returned from South Africa in the last 10 days will be contacted and asked to take a test.
Currently, between 500 and 700 people travel to the UK from South Africa each day, but this figure is expected to rise as the holiday season approaches, according to the Daily Mail.