Brazil regulator recommends tr

File photo taken on 9 April 2020 Brazil’s military, firefighters and Civil Defense members disinfect a bus station in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, during the final stage of a course that prepared military personnel from all over the state to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus. Photo: Douglas Magno / AFP

Brazil regulator recommends travel ban over Covid variant

The agency recommended “the temporary suspension of authorization to disembark in Brazil for foreign travellers […]”

Brazil regulator recommends tr

File photo taken on 9 April 2020 Brazil’s military, firefighters and Civil Defense members disinfect a bus station in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, during the final stage of a course that prepared military personnel from all over the state to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus. Photo: Douglas Magno / AFP

Brazil’s national health agency recommended Friday the government bar foreign travellers arriving from six southern African countries over a new Covid-19 variant detected in the region.

“Considering the epidemiological impact the new variant could have on the global situation, we recommend, as a preventive and precautionary measure, the immediate suspension of all flights from,” six states, health agency Anvisa said in a technical note.

BRAZIL TO TRAVEL BAN ON AFRICA 

The countries specified were South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe – though Brazil currently has no direct flights from any of those states.

The agency also recommended “the temporary suspension of authorization to disembark in Brazil for foreign travellers who have transited through those countries in the past 14 days,” and quarantine for Brazilian nationals returning from the region.

President Jair Bolsonaro’s government must now decide whether to implement the recommendations.

GLOBAL TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS OVER COVID VARIANT 

First detected in South Africa, the new B.1.1.529 strain has at least 10 mutations, according to scientists, who warn that may make current vaccines less effective against it.

Several countries in Europe and Asia have already implemented travel restrictions over the new variant.

READ: NCCC meeting this weekend: Will SA go into stricter lockdown?

PRECAUTION AGAINST COVID VARIANT 

The World Health Organization (WHO) urged caution, however.

“It will take a few weeks for us to understand what impact this variant has,” spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a briefing in Geneva.

“At this point, implementing travel measures is being cautioned against.”

RECOVERY 

Brazil has been hit hard by Covid-19, with more than 600 000 deaths – second only to the United States.

But its situation has improved recently.

With more than 60% of Brazil’s 213 million people now fully vaccinated, the average daily Covid-19 death toll has fallen from more than 3 000 in April to around 200.

© Agence France-Presse