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Canada bans travel from seven African countries over new Covid strain

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Canada bans travel from seven African countries over new Covid strain

Canada on Friday banned foreign travelers from seven African countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe over concerns about the spread of a new strain of Covid.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos made the announcement, joining a step taken by several other countries, including the United States and the European Union, after the World Health Organization declared the B.1.1 strain. 529 of Covid-19 recently discovered to be a “variant of concern”, renaming it Omicron.

“We are acting swiftly to protect the health and safety of Canadians,” Duclos said at a news conference.

“We know very little about this variant at this time,” said Canada’s director of public health Theresa Tam, “including how communicable it is and if the severity of the disease increases or what the impact is on the vaccine.

“But because of so many mutations in specific areas of the genome, we are taking this precautionary measure,” he said.

There are no direct flights to Canada from the seven nations listed in the travel ban.

Canadian travelers arriving indirectly from the region will need to obtain a negative Covid test before the flight and quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the country.

The travel restrictions will be in effect until January 31, while officials “assess the evolution of the situation,” said Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.

Source Credit: TheGuardian

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