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Despite the advent of new Covid variants, the Australian border remains open to South Africa | Australian News

Australia has no plans to limit flights from South AfricaDespite the emergence of a new variant of Covid-19, Britain has begun to close its borders with the country.

Health Minister Greg Hunt arrived on Friday as authorities assessed the threat posed by the strain and arrived from South Africa when the World Health Organization convened an emergency meeting to discuss new variants detected in South Africa. He said he would not yet introduce restrictions on.

Australia “can act swiftly with advice,” Hunt told the media that Australia’s chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, advised the border arrangements “there is no basis for change.” rice field.

The UK announced on Friday that it would ban flights from southern Africa amid concerns about a new variant of B.1.1.529, but Hunt said international health officials are still collecting information about it. rice field.

“The world is learning and watching [at] I’m nervous, “he said.

Hunt said he was briefed by both Kelly and Health Secretary Brendan Murphy on Friday morning.

“At this stage, they are collecting information [but] We are flexible and don’t hesitate if we need to change our medical advice, “he said.

A return flight from South Africa arrived in Australia last week, and returnees were quarantined in Howard Springs, Northern Territory, Hunt said. He said he was unaware of any new strains detected in Australia.

This is because Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead at Covid-19, said in a live stream of Q & A on Friday that information about the stock is still available.

“What we know is that there are many mutations in this variant, and the concern is that if there are too many mutations, it can affect the behavior of the virus. “She said.

The emergence of new strains is by no means the first. Another subspecies, C.1.2, was also detected in South Africa earlier this year.However, it has not been proven as infectious as the more common Delta strains.

However, the B.1.1.529 variant raises concerns in the international community due to the “very large number” of mutations. Some researchers fear that the virus may help evade immunity..

Whether or not this strain has been classified by WHO as a variant of concern, its emergence is drawing new attention to efforts to help increase vaccination rates worldwide.

South Africa has a vaccination rate of only about 24%, but in neighboring Botswana, where this strain is also detected, only one in five people is vaccinated.

Professor Catherine Bennett, an epidemiologist at Deakin University, said that in other parts of the world, more needs to be done to increase global immunization rates.

“Australia is currently providing 9 million doses to partners in the region, some of which Covax program, There is some funding, but that’s not enough, “she said.

Although Australia was “correctly” focused on our region, low vaccination rates around the world remain a major problem, she said.

“Vaccination rates like Botswana really leave you vulnerable,” she said.

“It doesn’t have to be a hyperinfectious strain of the virus, it has to invade a place with low vaccination rates. I don’t know what will happen with this. It may disappear and the vaccine may work as well. However, if any of these are incorrect, we are in a position where a small amount of virus can occur. A leap in its evolutionary development. “

On Friday, Hunt defended international efforts against developing countries, saying that some developing countries had “abnormally high” vaccination rates.

“Preliminary vaccines are available, but beyond that we are working directly through the Covax program,” he said.

“South Africa is doing everything it can to encourage vaccination in its population and continue to expand its distribution network, but there are challenges from country to country.”

Despite the advent of new Covid variants, the Australian border remains open to South Africa | Australian News

Source link Despite the advent of new Covid variants, the Australian border remains open to South Africa | Australian News

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