Editor of SA Flyer Magazine Guy Leitch has warned that the emergence of the new coronavirus variant will slow the recovery of the aviation industry and international tourism to South Africa.

This comes as the aviation and tourism industries in South Africa raise concern over the halting of some flights across the globe.

Israel has joined the growing list of countries that have halted all passenger flights from South Africa and Britain. Others include Germany and Turkey.

This after South Africa and Britain reported a new coronavirus variant. Leitch says the latest developments will further harm the global economy.

He says, “I think it’s gonna set back the global recovery of the airline industry even further than what was projected a month ago and it kicked the recovery period down to the middle of next year.”

“It is bad because it obviously affects the number of South Africans traveling to Germany as tourists. We must remember that airlines are a two-way thing so if there are no South Africans traveling to Germany, there are not gonna be flights to bring Germans to South Africa which will further hit the recovery of international tourism to South Africa,” added Leitch.

Leitch on SAA pilot lockout, second wave of COVID-19 infections

The Director of the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Research Innovation Platform, Professor Tulio De Oliviera, has confirmed that a new variant of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly in South Africa.

Professor De Oliviera was part of the panel hosted by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize addressing the media in an online session Friday.

Prof De Oliviera says the new lineage of the coronavirus is dominating new infections in South Africa.

He says it started spreading in the Eastern Cape and has spread along the Garden Route before spreading to KwaZulu-Natal, Cape Town and other parts of the country.

De Oliviera says the virus has a lot of mutations or changes in its genetic material.

The Ministerial Advisory Committee’s Professor Salim Abdool Karim, who was also part of the panel, says the resurgence in the Western Cape is worse than the first wave.

Editorial Note: Our previous story indicated that France had also halted passenger flights from South Africa, that is incorrect.