Nations Enact Travel Bans, Stock Markets Slide as New COVID-19 Variant Emerges

Headline Roundup November 26th, 2021

A new COVID-19 variant emerging in southern Africa has prompted new travel bans and stock market panic around the world.

Known as B.1.1.529, scientists say the variant is "spreading very fast," has "many more mutations than we have expected" and might be more transmissible than other variants. The World Health Organization is meeting Friday to discuss the variant. The United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and Japan were among the nations to halt travel from southern Africa in response to the news.

The news was covered prominently across the spectrum Friday morning. Outlets on all sides focused on the new variant's potential for enhanced transmissibility and how vaccines may be less effective against it.

From the Center

A slew of nations moved to stop air travel from southern Africa on Friday, and stocks plunged in Asia and Europe in reaction to news of a new, potentially more transmissible COVID-19 variant.

“The last thing we need is to bring in a new variant that will cause even more problems,” said German Health Minister Jens Spahn, amid a massive spike in cases in the 27-nation European Union.

Within a few days of the discovery of the new variant, it has already impacted on a jittery society that is sensitive...

Read full story
From the Left

South Africa's health minister announced Thursday the discovery of a new coronavirus variant that appears to be spreading rapidly in parts of the country.

"Initially it looked like some cluster outbreaks, but from yesterday, the indication came from our scientists from the Network of Genomic Surveillance that they were observing a new variant," Minister of Health Joe Phaahla said, stressing that it is currently unclear where the variant -- currently dubbed B.1.1.529 -- first emerged.

It has so far been detected in South Africa, Botswana and in a traveler to Hong Kong from South...

Read full story
From the Right

The World Health Organization is holding a meeting Friday to discuss the dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases in South Africa that has been blamed on a new variant of the virus.

Joe Phaahla, South Africa’s minister of health, identified the new variant as B.1.1.529, and said it seems highly contagious among young people.

The BBC reported that the new variant seems to be the most heavily mutated so far in the outbreak. James Gallagher, the health correspondent, wrote that one scientist described the variant as "horrific." He said the meeting of the WHO will likely result in...

Read full story