South African Covid Variant

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Biden will also reinstate travel restrictions on the entry of non-U.S. citizens from the U.K., Ireland and much of Europe as well as Brazil.

Former President Donald Trump rescinded those restrictions before Biden took office.

More contagious Covid strains have emerged in South Africa, the U.K. and Brazil.

The emergence of new variants of the virus that causes Covid-19—including one in the U.K. that British officials say could be more deadly than earlier versions—signals a future in which health authorities are locked in a cat-and-mouse battle with a shape-shifting pathogen.

Faster-spreading coronavirus strains that researchers fear could also make people sicker or render vaccines less effective threaten to extend lockdowns and lead to more hospitalizations and deaths, epidemiologists caution. But, they said, it doesn’t mean the contagion can’t be contained.

“We’re living in a world where coronavirus is so prevalent and rapidly mutating that there are going to be new variants that pop up,” Anthony Harnden, a physician who advises the U.K. government, told Sky News. “We may well be in a situation where we end up having to have an annual coronavirus vaccine” to cope with emerging strains.

President Joe Biden will issue another round of Covid-related travel restrictions, including a new ban on most non-U.S. citizens traveling from South Africa and a reinstated ban on most non-U.S. travelers coming from Brazil, the United Kingdom and dozens of European countries.

Reuters first reported that new restrictions on travel from South Africa would go into effect on Saturday. A White House official confirmed the veracity of the article.

Biden is also expected to on Monday reinstate a ban on travel by most non-U.S. citizens from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and 26 other European countries, reversing a Jan. 18 order from President Donald Trump that lifted those restrictions.

The move comes after Biden’s chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, warned that new, more infectious Covid strains in South Africa and Brazil could reduce the potency of the two vaccines being administered in the U.S.

The UK has identified 77 cases of South African coronavirus variant and nine of a Brazilian mutant, it was revealed today - amid warnings the virus is changing so fast new vaccines might be needed every year.

Matt Hancock said the cases were being kept under 'very close observation' stressing that they appeared to be linked to travellers - amid a Cabinet row over how to tighten border rules.

'They are under very close observation, and we have enhanced contact tracing to do everything we possibly can to stop them from spreading,' the Health Secretary said. 

The figures emerged as Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said the country will need to 'get used to' living with coronavirus.

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