Singapore will impose travel restrictions on seven African nations, according to health officials, following the discovery of a novel Covid-19 type with a large number of mutations in South Africa.
According to the health ministry, any non-Singaporeans and people without permanent residency in the city-state who have recently travelled to the seven nations will be prevented from entering or transiting through the country.
The new limitations will apply to South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe as of Sunday, according to the government.
Singapore citizens and foreigners with permanent residence status in the 5.5 million-strong city-state can still enter, but they will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine.
Although no cases of the new type have been reported in Singapore, officials are working to “take the appropriate safeguards to minimise the risks” of it spreading, according to the ministry.
Covid-19 has caused a minor outbreak in the city-state, with around 260,000 cases and 681 deaths reported.
On Thursday, scientists in South Africa revealed the identification of the variety, known as B.1.1.529, and blamed it for an increase in infections. As a result, Britain has imposed a travel ban on six southern African countries.
On Friday, European Union (EU) countries announced plans to halt air travel to and from southern Africa in order to combat the spread of a new COVID-19 type as the 27-nation bloc confronts a significant increase in infections, according to Associated Press.
“The last thing we need is to introduce a new version that will exacerbate existing issues,” German Health Minister Jens Spahn stated.
“I propose, in close consultation with the member states, to activate the emergency brake to prohibit air travel from the southern African region,” European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement.
The novel coronavirus strain discovered in South Africa is causing concern among scientists due to its high number of mutations and quick spread among young people in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province, according to scientists.
According to Germany, von der Leyen’s suggestion might be implemented as early as Friday night. According to Spahn, airlines returning from South Africa will only be able to bring German nationals home, and all travellers, whether vaccinated or not, will be required to enter quarantine for 14 days.