Scientists call for travel ‘code red’ over Covid variant found in southern Africa squib

Variant causing concern because of ‘extremely high’ number of mutations thought to be present across South Africa

Leading scientists have called for immediate “code red” international travel restrictions following reports that a new Covid-19 variant is driving a surge in cases in southern Africa.

The variant, which was only identified on Tuesday, initially sparked concern because it carries an “extremely high number” of mutations that could allow it to evade immunity. The latest data, presented by South African scientists on Thursday, revealed the variant also appears to be more transmissible and is already present in provinces throughout the country.

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