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South Africa says British travel ban over variant 'rushed'

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South Africa's foreign ministry has said Britain's decision to ban flights from South Africa because of the detection of a new COVID-19 variant "seems to have been rushed" as even the World Health Organization is yet to advise on the next steps. "Our immediate concern is the damage that this decision will cause to both the tourism industries and businesses of both countries," Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said in a statement.

He said South Africa would engage with British authorities to try to get them to reconsider their decision. UK officials sounded the alarm last night over the B.1.1.529 variant, which has the potential to evade immunity built up by vaccination or prior infection.

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