Biden orders COVID-19 travel restrictions, adds South Africa

Biden orders COVID-19 travel restrictions, adds South Africa

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention director (CDC) head Rochelle Walensky is set to sign a separate order Monday requiring masks on all aeroplanes and public transportation for all travellers two and older, officials told Reuters Sunday.

The emergence of highly contagious variants to the SARS-CoV-2 virus had triggered concern about their impact on the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines even as countries begin to accelerate their immunization programs.

She said the move was guided by the advice of the new administration's medical and Covid-19 team. That publication did not address the South African variant, which has been of most concern and shares many mutations with a concerning variant detected in Brazil.

Another more infectious variant known as B.1.1.7. that first emerged in the United Kingdom has now been detected in more than 20 USA states. Both super strains have the same mutation on their spike protein - N501Y.

"We've been informed today that in addition to spreading more quickly, it also now appears that there is some evidence that the new variant-the variant that was first discovered in London and the southeast [in England]-may be associated with a higher degree of mortality", he said in a news conference on Friday.

South Africa recorded another 243 Covid-19 deaths and 4 551 new infections on Monday, while the recovery rate continued to improve.

Scientists initially thought that the B.1.1.7. variant discovered in the United Kingdom did not cause more severe disease, but some recent evidence has emerged suggesting that it may be linked to higher mortality-although the data is not yet conclusive.

The 501Y.V2 South African variant had been found in at least seven other countries - Australia, New Zealand, Finland, the UK, Switzerland, Japan, and Zambia. In the results, which have yet to be peer-reviewed, researchers found a six-fold decrease in effectiveness on the South African variant.

Research into whether a booster dose can strengthen the response to any new variantis also under way. "I think of it as an insurance policy".

India's drugs controller has said the overall efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine, locally branded COVISHIELD, was 70.42% based on trials done overseas, but the approval for Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN has faced criticism due to the lack of efficacy data. "But within what we have right now and what we know is coming into the province, we need to make some changes to the phase one that we are in".

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