Germany says all flights from Britain and South Africa will be halted after the two countries reported a new coronavirus variant. A German government spokesperson earlier said Berlin was working on new travel rules.

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

Editor of SA Flyer Magazine, Guy Leitch, says this will slow the recovery of the aviation industry and international tourism to South Africa.

“I think it’s gonna set back the global recovery of the airline industry even further. That’s 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 travelling to Germany as tourists. We must remember that airlines are a two-way thing. So, if there are no South Africans travelling 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.”

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.

Briefing below:

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.

On Sunday, 9 445 new cases and 152 deaths were clogged in the country.