Asian and European countries, alarmed by new COVID-19 variant, tighten curbs | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Asian and European countries, alarmed by new COVID-19 variant, tighten curbs

Global authorities reacted with alarm on Friday to a new coronavirus variant detected in South Africa, with the EU, Britain and India among those announcing stricter border controls as scientists sought to determine if the mutation was vaccine-resistant.

Britain banned flights from South Africa and neighboring countries and asked British travelers returning from there to quarantine, while European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said the EU also aimed to halt air travel from the region.

Scientists are still learning about the variant, identified this week, but the news pummelled global stocks and oil amid fears what new travel bans would do to already shaky economies across southern Africa.

The variant has a spike protein that is dramatically different to the one in the original coronavirus that COVID-19 vaccines are based on, the UK Health Security Agency said, raising fears about how current vaccines, successful against the more familiar delta variant, will fare.

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