EU orders travel ban on South Africa to halt spread of new COVID-19 variant

Member states called on ‘to test and quarantine all incoming passengers’

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People line up to get on the Air France flight to Paris at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday Nov. 26, 2021. A slew of nations moved to stop air travel from southern Africa on Friday in reaction to news of a new, potentially more transmissible COVID-19 variant that has been detected in South Africa. Scientists say it is a concern because of its high number of mutations and rapid spread among young people in Gauteng, the country's most populous province. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

BRUSSELS – The European Union nations on Friday agreed to impose a ban on travel from southern Africa to counter the spread of a new COVID-19 variant.

The 27 nations acted within hours upon the advise of the EU executive which said all needed to be extra cautious in dealing with the variant until it became clear how bad of a threat it would be, the EU presidency said in a statement.

The EU presidency, currently held by Slovenia, also called on all member states “to test and quarantine all incoming passengers.”