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New COVID variant found in South Africa, UK enforces new travel bans


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A new COVID variant has been discovered in South Africa, and fears that it may be more transmissible and vaccine-resistant than the Delta variant has led both Britain and Israel to block travel to southern Africa. 

The variant is known as B.1.1.529, and was first identified in South Africa on Tuesday. Scientists quickly became concerned by the new variant because of its high number of mutations. Their worry is that vaccines designed to target previous COVID variants may be less effective. There are 22 known cases of B.1.1.529 as of Thursday, according to South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases. It's also been detected in Botswana, South Africa's neighbor to the north, and Hong Kong. 

"This variant did surprise us," Tulio de Oliveira, director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform, said in a press conference on Thursday ...


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