Panafrican News Agency

Greece imposes ban on travel from South African region

Athens, Greece (PANA) - Greece on Friday imposed travel restrictions on travelers from South Africa and its neighboring countries due to concerns over a new COVID-19 variant.

The Greek Health ministry said that the ban concerns South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Eswatini, Zambia and Malawi.

Only essential travel will be allowed from these countries, while travellers will need to procure a special permit from the local Greek diplomatic mission, it added.

Those granted a permit will have to undergo a PCR tests 72 hours before travel and submit to a rapid antigen test upon arrival. After that, they will have to quarantine in a designated hotel for 10 days, and do a second rapid test at the end of that period.

These restrictions will come into effect as of 6 a.m. Saturday.

Earlier, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urged member-states to suspend “all air travel” with southern African countries until details of the new variant are more clear.

The World Health Organization said Friday it has convened a special meeting to discuss the new COVID-19 variant discovered in South Africa.

WHO is closely monitoring the recently reported variant B11529 of coronavirus is "of interest or concern," WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a UN news conference.

-0- PANA/VAO AT/VAO 26Nov2021