Italy announced imposing an entry ban on all people who were South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Eswatini, and Botswana for the last fourteen days due to concerns over the breakout of a new COVID-19 strain in South Africa.
The new detected strain, B.1.1.529, carries several mutations due to its protein structure which could make the available treatments and vaccines less effective.
Italy was not the only country that imposed those travel restrictions on people coming from those countries, especially South Africa, such as the UK, Singapore, France, Germany, and Israel.
Therefore, the World Health Organization (WHO) will hold a special and urgent meeting on Friday to discuss the new variant.
South African scientists detected at least 30 mutations in the spike protein of the virus, according to scientist Tulio de Oliveira.
WHO official Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said: “We don’t know very much about this yet. What we do know is that this variant has a large number of mutations. And the concern is that when you have so many mutations, it can have an impact on how the virus behaves.”
Until now, a few cases of the new strain were reported in Botswana, Hong Kong, and Israel.