The COVID-19 virus has mutated again, and it is creating a bit of a panic around the globe.
The World Health Organization announced an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss a variant detected in South Africa.
The new variant appears to be mutating significantly, which could impact the infectiousness of the virus.
Hype or Danger?
Since the initial wave of infections, people have proven to be fairly resilient against the virus.
The virus has mutated numerous types already, with the Delta variant being the latest here in the states that has caused significant concern.
Even so, after a small initial spike, even that has leveled off somewhat.
The new variant from South Africa is called the B.1.1.529 variant.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, stated, “We don’t know very much about this yet. What we do know is that this variant has a large number of mutations.
“And the concern is that when you have so many mutations, it can have an impact on how the virus behaves.”
Some countries are already locking down travel restrictions for South Africa.
The EU, UK, and Israel have all announced air travel restrictions.
Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated, “We are currently on the verge of a state of emergency.
“Our main principle is to act fast, strong and now.”
— Yonat Friling (Frühling) (@Foxyonat) November 26, 2021
The @EU_Commission will propose, in close coordination with Member States, to activate the emergency brake to stop air travel from the southern African region due to the variant of concern B.1.1.529.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) November 26, 2021
The Japanese have also put some restrictions in place, now requiring Japanese nationals traveling from Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Lesotho to quarantine at government-dedicated accommodation for 10 days and do a COVID test on Day 3, Day 6, and Day 10.
Some American lawmakers are also calling for a lockdown on travel from South Africa before it has a chance to even get here.
We likely will not have any real science on the new variant for weeks while researchers conduct lab tests.
The WHO has also asked governments not to have a “knee jerk” reaction to the new variant, but as we have already mentioned, many countries are using an abundance of caution rather than allowing another huge wave of infections.