European Commision President - Ursula Von Der Leyen

European Commission Move To Ban Flights From Origin of New Strain B.1.1.529

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The European Commission has recommended that all member states suspend flights from countries in southern Africa.

Ursula von der Leyen says all air travel should be suspended to countries where the new COVID variant ( B.1.1.529 ) has been identified until more information is known.

It’s in response to the emergence of a new variant which could be more transmissible than the Delta variant.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says the vaccine contracts with pharma companies say their jabs must be adapted to the emergence of new variants.

She says flights should be suspended until more is known about the new strain:

We are taking the news about the new highly mutated COVID variant very seriously.

We do know that mutations could lead to the emergence and spread of even more concerning variants of the virus that could spread worldwide within a few months.

It is now important that all of us in Europe act very swiftly, decisively and united.

The European Commission has today proposed to Member States to activate the “emergency brake” on travel from countries in southern African and other countries affected to limit the spread of the new variant.

All air travel to these countries should be suspended until we have a clear understanding about the danger posed by this new variant.

And travellers returning from this region should respect strict quarantine rules.

I have spoken about the situation in several phone calls and video conferences with scientists and vaccine manufacturers today.

They too fully support such precautionary measures to avoid international spreading of this concerning variant.  

It also depends on all of us as citizens to contribute to a better control of the pandemic.

Please get vaccinated as soon as possible, if not done yet.

And follow the known rules to protect yourself.

Boosters provide even better protection.

That is why Europeans should take every opportunity to protect themselves through vaccination.

We have gained experience with other means like masks, hand hygiene and social distancing but also travel bans and border measures.

This helps slow down the spread of viruses.

This is important because it buys us valuable time.

Time for more vaccinations and booster shots.

The European Union’s contracts with manufacturers say that the vaccine must be adapted immediately to new variants as they emerge.

Europe has taken precautions.”